Williamsons to bid farewell to region

In just five years, Majors Cathryn and Mark Williamson have made a name for themselves across three different communities, started projects which became implemented nation wide and made friends they will never forget.

But now, they must bid a fond farewell to Cowra.

The Salvation Army officers, who have worked across Cowra, Canowindra and Grenfell, will mark their last day with a farewell on Easter Monday on April 13.

"We're disappointed that we're leaving, we're going to miss Cowra but that's what we signed up for," Cathryn said.

"When the Salvation Army says "you are appointed to somewhere else", then we need to follow that and we need to go."

And Cowra's loss will be Grafton's gain.

"We're off to Grafton, but we'll also be responsible for Maclean and we need to be there by April 20," Cathryn said.

"So we need to pack our house up and we need to do our goodbyes and we need to get to Grafton."

Cathryn said she has come to love living in a rural community like Cowra.

"If you had of asked me even 15 years ago, would I enjoy living in the country? I would have said no, but we've loved living in Cowra," she said.

"It's a very friendly community that we've got fairly involved in and we are fairly visible in the community, so lots of people know us and we have lots of great conversations wherever we are, in the supermarket, down the street, in the pubs and clubs of a Friday night... in the markets and the cake stalls at Bunnings."

Cathryn said Cowra provided them the opportunity to begin a number of projects, get involved with the community and further their skills.

"The Kids in the Kitchen program started here at Cowra and its now gone across Australia, same with our LEGO Church, connecting people with each other and with God through the church," she said.

"I think there's so much that we've done in five years that it is hard to pinpoint one thing, to have close on 150 kids through the kids cooking program, that's only been three and a bit years, I've launched three recipe books and raised just on $50,000 for projects.

"We've appreciated everything that we've been able to do in a smaller community and I do love living in the country."

Cathryn also said Mark enjoyed his time as Chaplain at Moyne Aged Care Residence in Canowindra.

"Mark was appointed to Moyne as the Chaplain, and he's loved that, he's loved interacting with the older people and being able to support them emotionally and spiritually, and their families and also the staff out there," she said.

"He's become the Salvation Army presence in that small community."

The community of Grenfell has also benefited from the work of Cathryn in the last 12 months, after their Salvation Army was under threat of closure.

"There was danger that the Salvation Army was going to close at Grenfell if there wasn't anyone able to look after the running of that," she said.

"Joanne [Noble} from our Family Store has taken on managing the Family Store out there as well, which is good because that means, even though we go, there's some continuity in that kind of management."

Cathryn thanked the Cowra community for their continued support.

"Thank you so much for your support, thank you for embracing me," she said.

"I came as the Salvos Officer to town and five years ago, nobody knew me but now I leave with friends and lots of connections in town.

"It's going to be difficult just to move nine hours away and leave that behind but I take with me lots and lots of memories."

The Williamsons are planning on holding a "drop in" farewell on Easter Monday, April 13 at the Salvation Army Hall, should current restrictions on gatherings allow.

People are encouraged to drop in between 10am and 2pm and finger food will be available.