KIAMA Tennis Club legend Norma Stead was blown away when her family took her out for lunch at Kiama Bowling Club last week and was greeted by 130 enthusiastic tennis club members and friends.
In fact the whole surprise, designed to celebrate Mrs Stead's stepping down as treasurer of the club after an amazing 50 years of service, could have fallen apart when Mrs Stead didn't feel well on the morning of the celebration and almost didn't go.
"I just didn't feel myself and wasn't all that keen do anything that day, but my daughter convinced me to go and what a surprise," she said.
"Bob Young had said to me the previous week that I should keep the day free, so I suspected that a couple of Kiama Tennis officials might have been coming too, but I never in a million years expected this."
A special guest at the function was Australian tennis great Ken Rosewall and his wife, Wilma.
"It was lovely to see Ken," Mrs Stead said.
"I had met him a couple of times before, but never really had a chance to talk to him at length."
Mrs Stead's association with the tennis club started after her husband, Ray, was appointed as caretaker of the old courts in Hindmarsh soon after the couple moved there in 1953.
"Initially, I would collect the fees from people and treasurer Arthur Saunders would collect the money off me and bank it, but when he retired from the position in 1963, I took over and as they say in the classics - the rest is history," she said.
She also assumed the caretaker role following Mr Stead's death and still proudly holds the mantle of the matriarch of Kiama Tennis Club today.
"I felt that after 50 years as treasurer, it was time for someone else to take over as I haven't got a computer and most banking these days is done electronically - my time had well and truly come," she said.
"And you'll never believe what the Tennis Club gave me as a present - an iPad.
"I've got no idea of how to use it, but I am sure there will be someone around to give me some lessons."
Mrs Stead is a life member of Kiama club, the Kiama-Shellharbour Tennis Association and Kiama Rugby League Club, but says the naming of the tennis precinct Stead Reserve is her proudest moment.
She also loved seeing young children starting their tennis careers at the club.
She is a recipient of the 2009 NSW Sports Federation Distinguished Long Service Award and the 2011 Tennis NSW Volunteer of the Year award.