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Shona and Bill

  • 18 October 2019

The first time Shona McKerchar saw Bill Richardson, he was playing the piano.

The song he was playing at the time?

“My friend Margaret invited me and my parents to a musical evening. When I entered their lounge, Bill was seated at the piano playing ‘Wheels’, which was a popular tune at the time,” Shona says.

Bill was 21, and Shona was 19 – but Bill was seeing somebody else at the time.

“I never could have envisaged how we would meet again, as I came from a farming background and Bill a business one.”

The pair’s daughter Joc O’Donnell, the executive director here at Transport World, says it wasn’t until 1963 that Shona and Bill would meet again, when Shona attended her friend Margaret’s 21st birthday party.

“She had been a little bit reluctant to go, as her father has just passed away and she wasn’t really feeling in the partying mood. But her younger brother quipped that she should go, and said, ‘you never know: you might meet your future husband’, to which Mum replied, ‘don’t be so stupid!’” Joc says.

“But the rest is history. There was Dad, now no longer attached, and bingo! They were married a year later on April 17, 1965.”

Bill was 24, and Shona 22, when the pair married at the Winton Presbyterian Church.

That date has become quite significant for the Richardson family. Three decades later, Jocelyn wed Scott O’Donnell (on April 17, 1995), and her great-grandparents had also married on the same date years earlier.

Shona became a supporter of the business, then Southern Transport, when she married Bill.

While she is no longer director of the company, she is still considered a huge influence by its staff. Shona is a key guiding figure in the family-owned business values HW Richardson Group retains even today.

“Mum and Dad were a wonderful couple. They were good for each other, balancing each other out beautifully. Our home life was very stable. I never heard them argue – and I loved the way they held hands in the car when Dad was driving,” Joc recalls.

“I would say Dad was an understated high-achiever, and Mum supported him 110 percent, keeping his home life an orderly sanctuary. Mum is gracious and giving through-and-through. She is one of life’s true gems.”

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