Tickled pink to mark 80 years
EIGHT decades of community service on behalf of the patients and staff at Bellinger River District Hospital started in May 1938 when 36 women from the Bellinger Valley formed the Bellingen Hospital Auxiliary.
The Mid North Coast Local Health District, Bellingen Health Campus and the Bellingen Hospital & Pink Auxiliary will celebrate an important milestone this month – the auxiliary’s 80th birthday.
The group’s current president Deb Anderson said, in the early days, volunteers carried out all the sewing required by the hospital.
“They sewed sheets, pillow cases, curtains, aprons, capes as well as mending whatever needed to be mended,” Mrs Anderson said.
“They embroidered the initials of the hospital on tapes which they stitched onto items needing to be kept track of. Sewing machines were eventually purchased, but they continued to carry out a substantial amount of hand sewing.
“Sewing afternoons provided an opportunity to socialise, as well as to mend and stitch.”
Volunteers also hosted an annual ball as well as a fete to raise funds for their local hospital.
The women formed The Pink Ladies Association in December 1980 with the purpose of providing a nonprofessional service to add to the comfort and welfare of patients and assist visitors, and so began The Pink Ladies’ street stalls and raffles in a bid to continue the fund-raising effort on behalf of the hospital and its patients.
“In July 1995, the two groups joined to become the Bellingen Hospital & Pink Auxiliary we know today and the fundraising continues,” Mrs Anderson said.
“Our volunteers continue to work hard to improve the comfort and welfare of patients.”
The hospital’s acting executive officer and director of nursing Janelle Goodall said the list of those who had served the auxiliary and the hospital was very long, and included many well-known founding families in the valley.
“It’s a great pity that we can’t mention and honour them all,” Ms Goodall said.
“However, the tradition continues and we can’t begin to thank the volunteers of yesteryear and today for all that they did and continue to do for our wonderful hospital and its patients.
“They have donated countless tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to the hospital over the decades… every piece greatly appreciated by our staff and patients.”
The auxiliary has also provided Christmas gifts for patients, placed wreaths on the cenotaph for Anzac Day, supported the agricultural show with floral arrangements, as well holding street stalls and raffles.
TERRIFIC MILESTONE: President Deb Anderson with one of the auxiliary's donations to Bellingen Hospital last year, Pablo, a rehabilitation and assessment device. Bellingen was the first regional hospital to receive the equipment. Pictured with...