FOND FAREWELL TO ZELDA ELLIOTT AFTER 21 YEARS AT HOSPICE
IT WAS an evening full of tributes, tears and fond memories as Sunshine Coast Hospice held a farewell party last week for Zelda Elliott who has retired after 21 years of service to the organisation.
Elliott’s work with Hospice goes back to when Sunshine Coast Hospice was first established in Port Alfred in 1997. It was in that year that Grahamstown Hospice was tasked with expanding their services to the surrounding areas and Kathryn Court was employed to establish Hospice branches. After she visited Port Alfred, various volunteers were identified to help start up the branch, including Dr Paul Schnell and Elliott, who formed part of the steering committee.
Elliott was a dedicated volunteer for seven years before becoming an official staff member.
Hospice’s first premises were in a shared house in Van der Riet Street. Later, when the staff complement grew to include more nurses, a social worker and care workers, they moved to Campbell Street.
After a bequest, Sunshine Coast Hospice was able to purchase their current premises in Alfred Road. At the same time, the organisation spread their care to include Kenton-on-Sea and Alexandria.
Reflecting on Hospice’s history, Grahamstown Hospice administrator Janine Peinke said: “Sunshine Coast Hospice has grown tremendously from those early days. Zelda and her team have demonstrated passion, commitment and dedication as they have navigated various challenges in meeting the changing needs of the communities we serve.”
Elliott was credited for her tireless work as a fundraiser to secure much-needed funds to provide this care.
“One of Zelda’s greatest strengths has been her ability to network and nurture relationships with funders and volunteers who have been the backbone of Hospice over the last two decades,” said Hospice committee chairman Terry Harris.
Among Elliott’s fundraising accomplishments are the Spring Spectacular, which she and her team of volunteers arranged for 18 years; the Tree of Lights event for 21 years; the Hospice 300 Club (also since 1997) and the Hospice shop for the past few years.
Elliott’s duties grew from fundraising to that of administrator of Sunshine Coast Hospice in 2004.
After the emotion-filled tributes, Peinke, accompanied by Grahamstown Hospice director Trish Gillies and Sunshine Coast Hospice fundraiser Angela Hibbert, brought some levity to the farewell party by presenting some fun awards to Elliott.
Due to Elliott’s close association with the Bathurst Agricultural Show over many years, she was pinned with a first-prize rosette for being a “fine specimen”. She also received an “Oscar” for glitz and glamour for organising 18 Spring Spectaculars and a badge for judging a beard competition at the Bathurst Country Affair.
On a more serious note, Hospice doctor Barbara Matthews presented Elliott with the Dame Cecily Saunders Award for compassionate care.
Last year, Elliott received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award from Lions International for 20 years of dedicated and humanitarian services.
PASSING THE MANTLE: Sunshine Coast Hospice fundraiser Angela Hibbert, left, was handed ‘the keys to Hospice’ by Zelda Elliott, who retired this week after 21 years of service. Hibbert has been appointed as new administrator, and Elliott said she could...