As far as Kathleen Perry was aware, it was just a standard annual meeting.
The North Otago Vintage Car Club secretary was typing the minutes, doing her best to keep up with the speaker, when her son, Ian, and his family walked into the room.
Immediately, she knew something was up.
The stalwart was being presented with a vintage car club branch recognition for her 57 years of service to the North Otago area.
“It was very nice to be acknowledged. I was blown away by the gratitude of the wider members of the club . . . I’ve received phone calls since,” Mrs Perry said.
“There’s a lot of women in VCC who have done . . . a huge amount of work for the clubs because their husbands were members.”
Those women share a similar story to Mrs Perry.
Her late husband, Keith, was one of the founding members of the North Otago club 60 years ago and she became involved three years later.
She only became an official member in 2002, but that never stopped her joining in on the club’s activities, only missing four Windsor rallies during her time.
Together, Mrs Perry and her husband owned a range of cars: a 1911 De Dion-Bouton – nicknamed “ding-dong” – 1911 Overland, 1926 Model T Ford, 1930 Model A, 1947 Ford Mercury and a 1974 Ford Falcon.
Mrs Perry had attended multiple rallies throughout the country, including an international rally in Dunedin, and it was there she found her real passion from the club – the people.
“It’s not just the cars. It’s the people you meet, the places you go making friends with people from all over.
“For me it’s not just been North Otago, it’s been wider – it’s the camaraderie.”
Since becoming a proper member, she spent time as joint club captain, and had four stints as club secretary. Mr Perry had also served as the club’s chairman.
Through her role as secretary in 2011, she helped organise the National Motorcycle Rally, and “loved every minute of it”.
Mrs Perry worked as the club’s archivist too, and had mountains of newspaper clippings and photos detailing North Otago Vintage Car Club news over the years.
She stepped down from her role as secretary at the meeting last month, but would continue to be involved with the club.