THE Tamworth Ex-servicewomen’s Association is losing its president, Betty Horsburgh, but only from the position – Betty isn’t planning on going anywhere.
Betty, 87, prides herself on having gone to every meeting, activity and trip the association – as well as every other club, group, and committee she is involved with – has had, and plans to keep doing so.
She is one of Tamworth’s gems – always giving to the community, part of everything she can manage and always with a loving smile.
Betty said she signed up to be president for one year, because no-one else would.
That was 16 years ago, and 10 years after she originally joined the association.
Betty’s service started many years ago, when she signed up for the Women’s Royal Australian Navy (WRAN) in 1941, during World War II.
She trained in Sydney as a coder, then was stationed in Brisbane on the HMAS Moreton on the Brisbane River.
“We were typists, teleprinters, messagers and did a little radio. There were no computers. We were a main port between Australia and Papua New Guinea,” Betty said.
“We danced in Queen St when the war was over.
“It was one of my favourite moments.”
In 1946 Betty moved back to Tamworth to be closer to family and friends. She had “a few jobs here and there and carried on”, she said, before working for 27 years for her brother in-law’s electrical company.
She joined the RSL and did not take long to become the first female on the committee, then the first female vice-president, admitting she couldn’t help trying to be the president of every organisation she got involved in.
As well as having 123 acres at Duri, Betty is on the board of the Tamworth Garden Club, the War Widows’ Guild, Duri Hospital Auxiliary, Duri Progress Association and a couple of other organisations.
So many, in fact, Betty has trouble remembering them all when put on the spot.
She said her greatest attribute was “attending as many of the functions and meetings as I possibly can, and being as big a part of them all as possible”.
When asked what she was going to do with her time now she had retired as president, Betty’s simple response was: “I don’t have spare time.”
Sandra Lambkin is taking over as president of the Ex-servicewomen’s Association, and Betty said she was proud she was also a WRAN veteran.