The touching family story behind Jenny Dowell's tea towel

NOT many people can claim that they've had their image printed on a tea towel - but Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell now can.

Northern Rivers visual art platform, Black Ant Australia, last night announced that a special tea towel would be released to mark the retirement of Cr Dowell.

Black Ant Australia posted this on Facebook last night:

"The glorious Jenny Dowell, Mayor of Lismore is retiring.

"She has made such an extraordinarily positive contribution to our region with her enthusiasm, energy and sheer hard work.

"We have created a commemorative Jenny Dowell Tea Towel in her honour.

"At Jenny's request, profits from every sale will go to the Dirty Laundry Project (a local domestic violence awareness initiative).

"The tea towel will be available from September."

The commemorative Jenny Dowell Tea Towel, created by Black Ant Australia.
The commemorative Jenny Dowell Tea Towel, created by Black Ant Australia.

Cr Dowell said she was stunned by the idea when approached about it.

"This is so special!" she wrote on Facebook

"(I) couldn't imagine a better organisation to benefit from the sales of these tea towels than the Dirty Laundry Project that raises awareness about domestic and family violence."

Cr Dowell told The Northern Star it was a "very unusual, but very sweet parting tribute."

"I've pre-ordered some that will be some Christmas presents for friends and family - I hope that's not too egocentric!" she laughed.

She also added that the tea towel had an extra special meaning to her.

Cr Dowell said that whenever she used to travel overseas, she would bring back a tea towel from that country for her aunt, who would then sew them into cushions.

That aunt sadly passed away six years ago, Cr Dowell said, but this new tea towel project came with an emotional reminder of the family tradition.

"It's touching in more ways than one - it's fun, but it's got a special meaning," Cr Dowell said.

In terms of how the outgoing mayor is feeling in the lead up to her retirement, she said the emotion was starting to hit her.

"Well until this morning, I was fine," she said.

However she said, at a Lismore Leaders Breakfast this morning, she was presented with a certificate, flowers and parting gift for her work, which caught her off guard

"For the first time, the emotion of it has hit me," she said.

"It feels a bit strange (however) it's still four weeks of business as usual for me."