“You get one go in life. Make as many mistakes as you like, but have a go, try stuff and see if you can make a difference.”
The World Heritage Site status certificate has now been removed from Liverpool Town Hall. The low-key ceremony was presided over by the city’s Lord Mayor, which is just one of many duties she takes responsibility for. She has had an extraordinary career, and a wonderful take on life, so we thought it was high-time that we discovered a little more about our First Citizen, Cllr Mary Rasmussen.
Born in London, to Irish parents who met in Scotland, Mary and her parents moved to Liverpool and settled in Garston, after which seven sons and two further daughters also joined the family. She’s thankful that her mother and father fell in love with Liverpool, and although they shared tough early days, she says “they were great early days as well”
On Mary’s first day after leaving school she got her first job interview at Fords, but suddenly got cold feet.
She explains: “I got ready to go to the interview and nearly had a heart attack, because at that time the company employed 30,000 men. I thought ‘I cannot walk through that building’, so I went to a telephone box on the corner of Wellington Street, opened the telephone book, closed my eyes and stuck a finger on to the page.
“The first business name that came up was Caulfields Wharf, a haulage company in Garston, so I rang them and said ‘I’ve just been offered an interview at Fords, would you like to interview me too? They asked me to come straight down and I got the job, so I started off as a trainee secretary.”
Over the following years, many other jobs followed – by the time she was 40 she’d had no less than 48 roles, ranging from a nurse, lab technician and even a spot welder!
“When I was 18, 19, I must have weighed seven stone soaking wet! I worked in the offices at Broughs Drums and knew the spot welder, I used to watch him doing his job. When the job became vacant, they would put it out to the men – and that’s what annoyed me – I was like ‘but I can do that!’. And after she was turned down, Mary persevered and eventually convinced them to give her a go.
But by far her most cherished role has been that of councillor, although she initially had to be talked into it: “I was like, all right, I’ll have a go. Best job I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve done 14 years now and I never know what tomorrow will bring as a councillor. I say I’m going to retire in two years, who knows? Who knows!”