Acknowledged ... Recipients of Honoured Active badges are Inner Wheel members (back, from left) Dawn Perkins, Ruth Dove, Bronwyn Goldrick, Maureen Malcolm and Susan Clark; (front, from left) Claire Thomson, Ann Senior, Joan Martin, Cara Duncan and Carole Hamer. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Fellowship and friendship is what has kept Oamaru’s Inner Wheel group turning for the past 50 years, president Dawn Perkins says.

“We look after each other,” Mrs Perkins said.

The charity group started in 1971 so 50 years later, it was time to celebrate.

On July 24, about 50 people – including three founding members – attended the group’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Brydone Hotel. The group’s national president was also there, as were members from different district groups.

“We had quite a gathering,” she said.

The Inner Wheel organisation started 100 years ago for the wives of Rotary Club members to have their own charitable outlet, Mrs Perkins said.

“I think the women thought ‘we can do that too’.”

In recent years, Rotary had opened up to women and the Inner Wheel opened its group to non-Rotary-affiliated women.

Since its beginning, the Oamaru group’s principles had revolved around “service to the community”, Mrs Perkins said.

“They used to do exactly the same things as what we are doing now.”

The group’s 11 active members had contributed 330 years of voluntary service between them, Mrs Perkins said.

From raising funds for charities to making silk pillows for people undergoing cancer treatment, doing good for the community was at the centre of the group.

To recognise this, the group’s active members each received an Honoured Active badge at the 50th celebrations.

What kept them active was the fun and friendship, Mrs Perkins said.

She particularly enjoyed raising funds through catering.

The group meets twice a month and, under lockdown restrictions, Mrs Perkins took to calling members who lived alone at least once a day.

“That’s what we do in Covid, we check up on each other.

“And probably during Covid, it’s what people need the most – somebody that cares about them.”