The Clutterbucks are so entwined with the community, you’d think that they’ve been here forever – but it’s only be just over two years. The Leader’s caught up with them when they first moved to Tamworth at the start of 2016. While they may have grown accustom to the city’s size, they’re still developing a taste for country music.
TAMWORTH’S new Salvation Army officers have only been in town for less than a week, but the Country Music Capital already feels like home.
Captains Dean and Rhonda Clutterbuck have been Salvation Army officers for seven years, previously serving at Mudgee and Umina Beach on the Central Coast.
So, what’s their first impression of Tamworth?
“Huge. It’s a big place – Umina Beach and Mudgee were both much smaller,” Mrs Clutterbuck said.
“The people seem happy and are very community minded, we already get a sense of that.”
Mr Clutterbuck said the couple had a “very warm reception” from the community.
“Everybody is friendly, they’re very welcoming – and that’s not because we’ve had our uniforms on – we’ve been down the main street just shopping,” he said.
“People say hello and they want to look you in the eye.”
With the country music festival just around the corner, the pair have been “dropped in the deep end” – but it could have been worse.
“Our traditional changeover is the second Thursday of January, so the festival would have started the next day,” Mr Clutterbuck said.
“We’ve still got all the other ministries functioning around the country music festival, so it’s a lot to get our heads around.”
Caravans have already started rolling in to the Salvation Army hub on Goonoo Goonoo Rd to camp on the land behind it.
The church will provide catering for the campers, along with a cafe.
“On the last Sunday of the country music festival we host a breakfast for the community and we have a country-gospel type of church service,” Mr Clutterbuck said.
“It’s going to be hectic, but we don’t mind hectic,” Mrs Clutterbuck said.
“The important thing is trying to make sure people still feel valued and that’s even if they’ve come for one night to see a concert.”
“It will be interesting this year – talk to us next year, I’m sure it will be easier then,” Mr Clutterbuck said, laughing.