FOR the past five years, Lynley McKerrow has been crying at major events throughout Southland.
However, next month will be the last time her voice will echo as the town crier.
Ms McKerrow is moving to Waikato at the end of October to pursue love.
She was coy about who he was but said they were getting married later this year and the move was to be closer to their families.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made [leaving Invercargill].
“The best I can say is I have my own romantic love story… We’ve known each other for 38 years and now we are finally getting married.”
Born in Wairarapa, Ms McKerrow moved to Invercargill 21 years ago. Her father’s family was from Southland.
“I always say my roots run deep into the Southland soil.”
She landed in the region to start a job which “never eventuated”.
“So I had to reinvent myself.”
She worked as a care worker, went to Bible college and worked as a lay minister until she became an official celebrant.
“In 18 years, I’ve cared for and loved over 1000 families. I’m also a wedding celebrant and in 14 years, I cared for 200 brides and grooms.
“All those things are part of who I am now.”
The crier role came about after she spotted a social media post seeking a town crier for a Heritage Month event.
“Some of my friends wrote that I had the loudest, poshest voice in Invercargill.”
When Invercargill City councillor Rebecca Amundsen asked if she was keen to be part of the event, she said she could do it but only if it was a permanent position.
On September 15, 2015, the Gore, Southland District and Invercargill mayors made her the official “town crier”.
“I answered the call and Southland needed colour.
“I have a real passion for Southland and really want people to know about our region its beauty, its people, and I’ve always believed if Southland is not good for you, it will be good to you.”
Since then, she had been a part of many important events including citizenship ceremonies, oyster festivals and the Christmas Parade one of her favourite experiences.
Ms McKerrow said she had informed two mayors she was leaving, but had not had any feedback from them yet.
When asked what she would miss most about the role, she replied it was the green of Invercargill, the Bluff Oyster Festival and the beauty of the city itself and the numerous friends she had made.
She had not planned any special farewell, but would treasure the moments she lived here and would be back to visit soon.
“I’m leaving as a different person. I grew, I have loved so many people, I made so many friends and probably some enemies as well make an omelette without breaking eggs.
“I would like to leave Invercargill knowing that I had given some joy and I want to say that I’m very grateful for the people, for the stories… for everything.”