Signing off from intense help role

Judy Skevington, in happier times, supporting the work of Rural Support Trust. PHOTO: TONI...
Judy Skevington, in happier times, supporting the work of Rural Support Trust. PHOTO: TONI WILLIAMS.
Judy Skevington, the friendly voice at the end of Rural Support Trust Mid Canterbury’s hotline, has resigned.

It is a reluctant resignation in which she cites irreconcilable differences with the Rural Support Trust board.

She is on leave until she officially finishes on July 31.

Mrs Skevington has been manager for the trust for the past three and a-half years.

In that time she has manned the trust’s 0800 number 24/7 — only getting a break when travelling overseas.

She has received countless telephone calls from people in need of help.

Those calls can range from quick five-minute directory-type requests to talking to people in dire need for over an hour, she said.

Prior to her resignation, the phone had been constantly with her for the past nine months straight.

The loss of Mrs Skevington from the role may come as a surprise to many.

She is well-known, and respected, in the farming community.

She farms in a 50/50 cropping/lamb-fattening partnership with her son, Michael, just south of Lake Hood.

Michael is a fourth-generation farmer on the 205ha farm.

The duo stick to the basics of cropping growing wheat, barley, grass, or peas, and can have up to 3000 lambs on farm.

Since tendering her resignation, Mrs Skevington has been inundated with messages of support and good wishes for the future, including from high profile mental wellness advocates Lance Burdett and Doug Avery and many people in the district’s farming community.

Outside of Rural Support Trust, she has been involved with Red Cross for more than 40 years but is also a long-term volunteer with Civil Defence, Victim Support, Neighbourhood Support, Restorative Justice and in the past SafeCare, a 24-hour crisis line for victims of rape and sexual assault, and with a community police station.

Mrs Skevington is still coming to terms with her resignation.

She will enjoy a break over the next few weeks before deciding her next move, however it will likely see her do a bit more with Civil Defence.

Rural Support Trust Mid Canterbury chairman Peter Reverley said Mrs Skevington had decided she needed to break from the role and he was covering the role until a replacement was found.

He did however praise her work with the trust, helping those in the family community, and beyond, during the past three and a-half years.

She has done "a great job ... a fabulous job," he said.

"It’s a bit of a tough job, you carry the phone 24/7 and get some reasonably tricky calls."

The role, likely to be a job-share position in the future, was due to be advertised this week.

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