Farewelled by public

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton  and his  wife Heather celebrate the end of Mr Familton's two terms...
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and his wife Heather celebrate the end of Mr Familton's two terms as mayor, with Oamaru businesswoman Annie Baxter (rear). Photo by Andrew Ashton.
After two terms in office, ''the people's mayor'' Alex Familton was yesterday farewelled by Waitaki residents at a ceremony at the Oamaru Public Gardens.

Mr Familton will not seek re-election in the local public body elections later this week.

The organiser of yesterday's event, Archdeacon Bernard Wilkinson, said although the mayor had been farewelled by the Waitaki District Council, he felt the public needed a chance to offer their thanks to Mr Familton and his wife Heather.

''Above all he's been the people's mayor; they both have.''

The Familtons were driven to the Oamaru Public Gardens in a 1928 Chevrolet, owned by North Otago Vintage Car Club member John Miller, and received a piper's greeting from Oamaru bagpiper Ken McMillan, before mingling with about 50 people gathered for the occasion, which ended with a farewell speech from Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

Mr Familton said both he and Mrs Familton had been ''grateful and overwhelmed'' by the farewell.

''We are very happy about what we have achieved, the number of friends we have made in the district and very happy at the close working relationships we have been able to build up.''

The pair would leave office with a mixture of ''some sadness and good heart'', he said.


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