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nola Nevill had no idea her 19 years of service as Matakanui Combined Rugby Football Club’s treasurer and three years as its secretary was to be recognised until she was named the club’s newest, and only female, life member.

She was presented with a crystal vase during the club’s recent end-of-season function.
‘‘It was a total surprise and quite a thrill.’’

Mrs Nevill, of Alexandra, was raised on a sheep and beef farm at Poolburn and went to Columba College in Dunedin.

‘‘I was always interested in commercial subjects and, as they did not take them at Columba, I left after three years.

‘‘I came back home and did two years of correspondence, learning book-keeping, office management and shorthand, rolling two years of study into one.’’

She later met husband Geoff while in Dunedin, even though he lived on his Moa Creek family farm, just down the road from her.

They have three children, Russell, Carol and Lauren, and six grandchildren.

Her first job was with Wright Stephenson (now PGG Wrightson) in Alexandra in 1963.

‘‘I saw the job advertised and went to speak to them about it. It turned into a job interview and they said to give them a call after I finished studying.’’

She was with the company for five years before leaving to get married in 1969 and moving to the Nevill family farm.

There were plenty of clubs and groups in the area, and many were struggling to find volunteers to fill office-bearer roles.

After her children went to boarding school in the 1980s and 1990s, she allowed her ‘‘arm to be twisted’’ and volunteered for some of those positions.

She was secretary for the Otago Fruitgrowers Association for about 15 years.

‘‘I didn’t know anything about fruit growing other than it went into a salad and you ate it with ice-cream.’’

Mrs Nevill was also secretary for the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society for six years and is proud to have been awarded the Bruce Paterson Memorial Service Award from the society.

She was also the Central Otago A & PSociety secretary for eight years.

She has been the Ida Valley Irrigation Company secretary since 1999 and secretary for the Central Otago Health Inc, for 13 years.

‘‘I really enjoy the work and I like being involved with all the different groups and meeting a lot of interesting people, whom I would probably never had met ordinarily.’’

These days, she like to follow family and grandchildren and their interests.