Three big cheers for Wauchope's hospital volunteers

Wauchope Hospital Volunteers President and Life Member Win Secombe (centre) with Acting Director of Nursing/Executive Officer Helen Byrnes and Hastings Deputy Mayor and the volunteers patron, Lisa Intemann, with the UHA members at their end-of-year luncheon.
Wauchope Hospital Volunteers President and Life Member Win Secombe (centre) with Acting Director of Nursing/Executive Officer Helen Byrnes and Hastings Deputy Mayor and the volunteers patron, Lisa Intemann, with the UHA members at their end-of-year luncheon.

The Wauchope branch of the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW, better known as the Wauchope Hospital Volunteers, celebrated the end of a successful year, despite the best efforts of COVID-19.

The volunteers, who raise funds for medical equipment for Wauchope District Memorial Hospital, held their end-of-year get-together at Wauchope RSL Club.

Joining the volunteers for lunch were the acting director of Nursing/Executive Officer, Helen Byrnes, and the group's long-standing patron, deputy Mayor Lisa Intemann.

President Win Secombe reflected on a year that resulted in $17,000 worth of equipment being donated to the hospital, despite the cancellation of most of the group's scheduled stalls in Hastings Co-op's IGA carpark due to COVID-19 precautions. Volunteer services at the hospital also had to be suspended in March to keep the volunteers safe.

"It's been a difficult year for fundraising, but somehow, with the community's support, we managed to donate two patient lifters," Ms Secombe said.

"I want to thank all our volunteers. Everyone does something to contribute in some way or another. A big thank you in particular to Margaret, Judy and Alex, Janice, Hilda and Bill, and to the silent volunteers... the people who leave handicraft and other items on my front verandah for us to sell at our stalls. Most of the time I don't even know who the fairy godmothers are.

"We are also very grateful to Wauchope RSL Club for their support, and to Hastings Co-op who generously support our fundraising efforts throughout the year."

Speaking on behalf of the hospital, its management and staff, Helen Byrnes thanked the volunteers, declaring "we've missed you".

"For 43 years I've been working in hospitals and I can say it's just not the same not having volunteers working beside our staff," Ms Byrnes said.

"It's been a challenging year for the world, and particularly for us in Health, including our wonderful volunteers.

"I want you to know that the two patient lifters donated to the hospital are used all the time, and our staff are appreciative of that.

"I also want to say, I popped into your street stall (December 4) and it was great to see you back at the IGA."

Deputy Mayor Lisa Intemann also acknowledged the difficulties of 2020, noting they had made the community 'extra appreciative' of all the work the volunteers had done.

"Our whole community appreciates what you do and appreciates the service you provide," Ms Intemann said.

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