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teacher at the school and a member of the ALP. She beamed at me and offered her sercives:  

"I'll be retiring at the end of the year, and will have more time. I should then be able to come in to the office several days a week."

I thanked her for the offer, and walked on, wondering how to deal with another trendy female who wanted to "help".

I need not have worried. Mary Mercer proved to be a special person. She looked and spoke like a refined lady, who could hold her own with the establishment matrons. But beneath the elgant exterior was a radical, with a young mind and a warm heart.  

Mary was to become my unpaid research officer, taking charge of filing and assisting generally in the office.  

Alf Thorpe also became a regular part of the team. Despite his left-wing stance in the party, Alf was a pragmatist who was aware of the difficult task that we had in holding the seat. He could see the value of maintaining contact with the "other side" in the Manly community. As an active senior citizen, he made a practive of mixing with retired people of all political persuasions. Gregarious by nature, he knew many of the local shopkeepers and the leaders of the establishment greeted him warmly. Hence he became out "eyes and ears" on the Corso.  

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