After 23 years involvement with the Waikanae Cameo Society's Pop-In Centre, Alison Vautier has stepped aside.
Alison was farewelled at a function at the centre's Mahara Place shop in Waikanae, on Wednesday last week, which attracted a number of people as well as songs by the Kapiti Women's Choir.
She received various gifts including a bouquet of flowers, a magnolia tree, card with many handwritten messages, a booklet about her Cameo involvement, and a life membership plaque.
A framed photograph of Alison now features proudly on a wall in the centre.
Cameo stalwart Margaret Dean said, "It's people like Alison who make communities great.
"Today is a joyous day tinged with sadness as we start a new phase in the life of Cameo without our guiding mentor who had the foresight, energy and determination some 23 years ago to establish a unique place for the residents of Waikanae to meet and chat.
"Alison has worked hard and successfully at establishing and maintaining Cameo and she has shown a very strong and fair leadership, and has, with the help of the committee, set policies, established a constitution, applied for and received funds, kept her finger on the day to day running of Cameo, and encouraged and enthused the volunteers to participate in the running and manning of the pop-in.
"The community of Waikanae's older folk truly appreciate the effort Alison has put into Cameo and wish her all the very best in her retirement.
"We who are left to carry on her good work want to express our grateful thanks to her for all she has done to establish such a successful and happy environment and we can promise we will make every endeavour to ensure that her good work is maintained long into the future."
Kapiti mayor K Gurunathan said, "We can have the best $630 million expressway out there but you [Alison] have built an expressway into people's hearts."
Making people happy and safe was the legacy Alison had started, he noted.
"I'm so happy to be here and to honour you and thank you for what you have done."
Alison, the founding president of the society, said, "I see the future of the society as booming.
"I think we've got a very strong committee and I know we've got community support.
"It has been a great journey.
"When I brought my mother here [to Waikanae] there wasn't much for her to do and I thought I would start something that would be helpful for other people when they were caring for older relatives.
"There has been a huge amount of community support.
"I would like to thank everyone who has supported this organisation - so many people have been so generous in so many ways."