Cherry Harmony Festival “czar” Pam Bodsworth has been a consistent contributor to the Manjimup community since the event’s inaugural edition in 2002.
The original festival was put together in just three months, while Pam was working for Paul Omodei’s electorate office during his time in State Parliament.
“The planning started in September, and the festival was in December, so it took us three months to put the first festival together, which was quite a feat,” she said.
The genesis of the festival was in the dispute over Manjimup’s Timber Industry and Pam praised the Manjimup community’s resilience in overcoming obstacles.
“Manjimup always comes out the other end of whatever adversity it’s seen,” she said.
Since its first edition, the festival has expanded markedly, going from 30 street stalls to 180 at its peak.
Pam said she took satisfaction in seeing the event come together and praised the work of everyone who had contributed over the years.
“Its a lot of hard work, it’s satisfying to see what you’ve worked on for nearly 12 months come to fruition and see people smile in Manjimup,” she said.
“It is known around the State as a festival to attend and it’s a credit to past and present committee members and anyone who has done anything for it over the years.”
As well as her contribution to the festival, Pam helped mentor a generation of Girl Guides during her 18-year tenure as leader of the Manjimup chapter.
“I had a girl guide and ranger background and I was dobbed in when we were first transferred here, and one thing led to another and I ended up as leader,” she said.
Pam’s contributions to the community has seen her nominated for a number of awards and honours, culminating with her winning the Citizenship Award at the 2016 Shire of Manjimup Australia Day Awards.
Additionally, her achievements with the Girl Guides led to her selection as a torch bearer in the countrywide Olympic Torch Relay for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Pam’s love of Manjimup and its community is obvious.
“My son used to say to me, ‘I don’t want to walk up the street with you mum, it takes too long’,” she said.
“You know people in your community and it’s nice to be able to walk down the street and acknowledge people with a good morning or good afternoon.
“You can walk down the streets of Perth or Melbourne, and not be acknowledged, it’s really special to be able to have that and there are lots of good people in Manjimup. Manjimup is a community you can integrate yourself into, if you want to. People are friendly.”
Born in New Zealand, Pam first came to the district in 1986 when her late husband was transferred to Manjimup.
Despite her love for Manjimup, there are some Kiwi traits that Pam has kept, such as her love of lolly cake — contributing her recipe to a Cherry Festival Cookbook — and her support for the mighty All Blacks whenever they play the Wallabies or any other nation.