When Leonie Smith started at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre [BMEC] in January 1999, the site was undergoing its final stages of construction before opening two months later.
With such a long and storied career at the venue, it was an understandably big decision for Ms Smith to retire from BMEC after 22 years dedicated to the promotion and presentation of performing arts in Bathurst.
Ms Smith has been around for BMEC's entire history in Bathurst [and much longer as a arts practitioner], and said she has been thrilled to watch the facility thrive over the years.
"BMEC is like a child to me: I saw it born in 1999 and have watched it grow and thrive into the prosperous and high-achieving young adult it is today," she said.
"There's been a lot of development and directions over the years, and it's been lovely to meet such a wonderful and diverse array of staff members who have helped me learn more about myself."
Ms Smith made special mention of the hard-working nature of BMEC's staff, who often work long and odd hours to present and facilitate high-quality entertainment events for the local community.
"There's a lot of forward planning and diverse working hours involved, and I don't think the amount of effort and expectation required of the staff is widely known in the local community," she said.
"Day and night work is commonplace as there's always shows on, and it truly is a credit to the staff at BMEC who dedicate so much of their time, effort and passion into every production."
Ms Smith plans to spend more time with her husband Steven, her children and grandchildren, and looks forward to seeing more of Australia in her caravan, but indicated she'd return to BMEC as a volunteer usher from time to time.
BMEC centre manager Stephen Champion said Ms Smith has had a long association with local performing arts dating back to the 1970s, and will certainly be missed.
"Leonie's a very positive person who has always put BMEC first, she has been an absolute pleasure to work with," Mr Champion said.
Ms Smith was BMEC's assistant manager throughout the majority of her tenure.
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