THE canvas of Ruth Rankin’s life has been a colourful one.
The vibrant 95-year-old has expressed her passion for art through her role as chief steward of the art show at Wingham Show for the past 31 years.
Now after more than three decades on the job, she will hand over the reins to Ron Hindmarsh.
Ruth has been a solid rock at the Wingham Show since 1982.
She explained when she first started in the role she was secretary of the Mid North Coast Art Society.
“The then hall steward felt he had too much to do so introduced me to the job at Wingham Show.”
Ruth said she had no inkling at the time she would enjoy the important job every year for the next three decades.
Ruth is a respected member of the Mid North Coast Art Society (formerly Taree Artists Incorporated). She joined the group in 1979 shortly after she moved to the area.
Ruth said she has always been interested in drawing.
Art was a side interest to her main occupation as a dressmaker.
“Drawing and art was just in my mind until I joined the art society,” Ruth said.
Ruth explained the decision to hand over the job was based on the fact she feels she is wearing out and running out of steam - something hard to believe as she goes on to say she still holds her licence, lives at home by herself and does her own cooking and cleaning.
The reason she has stuck at the job for so long is because she said there were very limited art members in Wingham so Ruth maintained the responsibility year in year out.
The Wingham Show Society made Ruth a life member in 2002.
She said she has always had good support from show society and art society members.
“I’ve been satisfied with the help I’ve received,” she said.
Looking back on the success of the art show Ruth said the centenary of Wingham Show in 1982 was a highlight.
The show program ran for three days with the art show being a huge event held for five days.
“It was a very successful exhibition.”
Ruth has seen the art show move from the rooms underneath the grandstand to the tea rooms, a space she feel has suited the exhibition well and drawn more people because of its accessibility to show-goers.
Ruth is glad Ron Hindmarsh is taking over as she said he knows a lot of people and has good links in the community.
The walls of her house tell of her love of art with her own and others’ artworks featuring.
The Mid North Coast Art Society members helped Ruth celebrate her 95th birthday in late August last year with a gathering at Bowers Cafe.
She enjoyed a double dose of birthday parties with more than 80 family members congregating at Marlee Hall.
She said her early ancestors were the first settlers in Marlee and opened ‘Marlee House’.
“In fact my great-grandmother would have been the first person buried at Marlee cemetery,” she said.
Although Ruth will let go of many of her responsibilities next year, she will be centre stage at this year’s Wingham Show, March 9 and 10 to show Ron the ropes.