LASTING LEGACY: The Western Star’s Mary Bates, pictured here at her farewell party on Friday night, will say goodbye to the newspaper after 49 years on Friday.
LASTING LEGACY: The Western Star’s Mary Bates, pictured here at her farewell party on Friday night, will say goodbye to the newspaper after 49 years on Friday. Tom Gillespie

Thanks for the memories, Mary Bates

AFTER nearly 50 years in employment, Western Star front desk lady Mary Bates is saying goodbye.

The newspaper stalwart, who first joined the masthead as an 18-year-old in 1966, will finish up on Friday.

She takes with her a treasure trove of memories and friendships made throughout the decades.

However, you won't find Mary making a big deal about her time and contribution to the Western Star - it was all part of the job for her.

"It was a job - I'm staid (and) I don't like to make a fuss," she said.

When Mary arrived at the Western Star, there was just a journalist and a manager, with all information needing to be typed and sent down on a train.

"We hand-wrote everything - they say computers make everything faster, but I don't think that's always the case," she said.

Current and former co-workers expressed their gratitude and sadness for Mary's departure.

Former manager and journalist Natalie Dingle said Mary was a consistent and constant presence - not just at the office but in the wider community.

"Everybody knows Mary - they would go to her for knowledge and advice," she said.

"It shows, because when everyone leaves they still talk to her long after they've left. She's a bit like a mother figure - a constant in your life."

Western Star advertising and site manager Claire Morris said she had made a strong friendship with Mary in their short time working together, adding she would be irreplaceable.

"She has outstanding work ethic and local knowledge," she said.

"The rapport she has with the people of this town is irreplaceable. She's been my rock."

EDITOR'S NOTE:

It will be difficult to say goodbye to Mary on Friday - she leaves behind a legacy few could ever hope to emulate. But most of all, I think we will miss her friendship and guidance. On behalf of all of us at the Western Star and APN, we thank you Mary Bates for your incredible contribution to this paper and this town.


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