Tick­led pink to mark 80 years

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: CON­TRIB­UTED

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...

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