TRUSTY TRISH: CRJC stalwart moves on after 22-year stint
THE Clarence Valley loves its horse racing and one name synonymous with the industry is Clarence River Jockey Club administration supervisor Trish McNeilly.
Rain, hail or shine, if the races are on McNeilly has been there to greet you with a smile on her face, but after 22-years in the role she has decided to try something new.
At 61, some people McNeilly’s age would be angling at retirement but she intends to put her sharp mind to good use for as long as possible.
“I’m not retiring, I’m moving on to something different. It’s been a big decision and it wasn’t easy because I’ve been here for so long but it’s something I wanted to try because I’m not getting any younger,” McNeilly said.
McNeilly first found her way into the industry after receiving a call from the club and the Graftonite never left.
“I got a call asking ‘can you go out to the racetrack and do some typing for us’ and I said ‘oh yea great, I’ll do that’. So I came over and I never left. I’m still here after all those years.”
“I’m born and bred here, never moved away. I’ve lived here all my life.”
After seeing an advertisement on Facebook, McNeilly decided to throw her hat in the ring for a position with Family Day Care based in Yamba.
“I applied for another position and I was lucky enough to get the go ahead. It’s doing basically what I do here. I didn’t think at my age, nearly 62, that I would get the job,” she said.
“But I did and I had to make the decision on which way I went. It’s mostly based in Yamba and my husband is working down there at the moment so that will be good.
“I bit the bullet. It’s been hard because being here so long I know exactly what I’m doing when I walk in here in the morning but sometime you have to make a decision that it’s time and that’s what I’ve done.”
In her 22 years working on meetings and the annual July Racing Carnival, McNeilly said there had never been a dull moment.
“It’s been very interesting. It’s a very varied industry with lots of different things going on. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here,” she said.
“There’s been lots of change over that time, particularly at the moment with COVID, and I think there’s more changes to come.
“It’s obviously very busy during July. I’ve had plenty of hectic carnivals working a lot of hours but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
CRJC has advertised the role of administrative assistant, but it’s clear McNeilly is leaving behind some big boots to fill.