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Port Macquarie Pink Ladies were represented at the regional forum by Dot Green, Leslie Watts and Karen Swain while Coffs Pink Ladies were represented by Helen Mears and Adele McKinnon. With them is Mid North Coast Local Health District Governing Board Chair Professor Heather Cavanagh, who welcomed the delegates to the forum and thanked them for their service.

Hospital volunteers thanked for their service

May 02, 2022

The volunteers of the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW North Eastern Region met in Nambucca Heads last week to celebrate and honour their service to public hospitals throughout the Mid North Coast.

About 50 delegates from UHA and Pink Ladies branches at Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo, Bellingen, BowraMacksville, Nambucca, Kempsey, Wauchope and Port Macquarie attended the forum where their collective and individual efforts were honoured.

Special guests included Mid North Coast Local Health District Governing Board Chair Professor Heather Cavanagh, Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey, Nambucca Valley Mayor Rhonda Hoban and Macksville District Hospital Executive Officer/Director of Nursing Andrew Bailey.

Professor Cavanagh said the Health District was in awe of the volunteers.

“In the past financial year alone, you’ve devoted an enormous 42,956 hours to support our health facilities, our staff and patients – which is a remarkable effort, considering the impacts of COVID on volunteer services.

“You’ve gifted an astronomical $264,431 worth of medical equipment and patient comfort items, that have made an incredible difference to our staff and services. And you’ve done all this with dignity, grace and tenacity.

“We thank you for sticking with us… through difficult days, weeks and months. And we want you to know we need you more than ever, and so do our patients.”

The North Eastern Regional Representative to the state executive of the UHA, Dee Hunter, was also present to deliver State President Tracey Wilkinson’s address and to make several special presentations, including two Life Membership awards to Bellingen’s Irene Chesterman and Wauchope’s Win Secombe. The UHA’s highest honour was bestowed on both volunteers in 2021 and 2020 but COVID-19 restrictions meant both presentations were postponed due to the UHA state conferences being cancelled.

Ms Hunter acknowledged the challenges of the past two years, due to the pandemic and natural disasters, but added there was much to celebrate as well.

“Times have not been easy for us over the past couple of years and it is admirable that we have managed to keep in touch with our members, continue fundraising even though this may have been more difficult than previous years, and still support our local hospitals,” Ms Hunter said.

“At this forum we have had many reasons to celebrate. We congratulated two of our long serving members, Irene Chesterman and Win Secombe for becoming Life Members. We heard from Coffs Harbour’s Helen Mears about her experience of being awarded NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year in 2021. And most importantly, we have finally managed to gather together for our forum after the 2020 event was cancelled due to COVID and the 2021 forum was attended by only a small number of members due to major floods.”

Another highlight of the forum was the presentation of appreciation and achievement certificates to the branches for their fundraising efforts.

The Frances Gavel OAM Trophy for the most money raised net by a country auxiliary in 2020 and in 2021 went to Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies. The prestigious Honor Bell for the most money raised gross by a country auxiliary in 2020 and in 2021 also went to Coffs Harbour Pink Ladies.

Host BowraMacksville branch received a Certificate of Merit for raising more than $20,000 in 2020 and a Certificate of Merit for raising a further $50,000 for its local hospital in 2021. And Nambucca branch received a Certificate of Appreciation for its support of Macksville Hospital, which included more than $50,000 in equipment.

Kempsey branch received Certificates of Appreciation for its support of Kempsey District Hospital in 2020 and 2021, which included more than $17,000 in equipment.

Port Macquarie Pink Ladies received a Certificate of Appreciation for supporting Port Macquarie Base Hospital and Port Macquarie Community Health Centre. Donated equipment amounted to more than $10,000 and included vital signs monitors and wheelchairs.

Wauchope Hospital Volunteers received a Certificate of Merit for supporting Wauchope District Memorial Hospital, which included more than $25,000 in equipment and a garden pergola.

Bellingen branch received a Certificate of Merit for raising more than $20,000 in 2020 and a Certificate of Merit for raising a further $20,000 for its local hospital in 2021.

Dorrigo branch received a Certificate of Appreciation for its support of Dorrigo Multi-Purpose Service, which included more than $30,000 in equipment.

To see more photos from the forum, please click on the image below and scroll through the library of photos.

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