IT was like entering a room full of caring grandmothers during yesterday’s Nowra Shoalhaven branch of the United Hospital Auxiliaries 60th anniversary.
These women have dedicated much of their lives to raising money for Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.
Held at the Bomaderry Bowling Club, the 60th anniversary lunch was a rare chance for the majority of the 70 members to get together with hospital staff and have a laugh about the good old days while looking forward to continuing as a close-knit community group.
President Pat Glasby remembered joining the auxiliary in the early 1970s.
“I was working with a nurse who invited me to help her with making sandwiches for a function the next day.
“When I turned up she asked me for $1. I gave it to her and she said thank you, you are now a member of the United Hospital Auxiliary.
“That was in Sydney but I’ve been in the auxiliary here in Nowra for about 18 years.
“I enjoy giving something so special back to the community. The hospital and the community are very
supportive of us.
“When we have garage sales to raise funds people generously donate us items to sell.
“I remember when I arrived in Nowra, Alison Blackmore, who is an auxiliary patron, introduced me to the people of Nowra.
“Alison is a wonderful lady who was awarded an OAM for all she has given to this community,” Mrs Glasby said.
Mrs Blackmore, who has been an auxiliary member for 34 years, said she loved the friendships she had formed through the group.
“I remember in the early days we had very little money, but the women kept plugging along.
“There were some really hot days, sitting with our little table out the front of the hospital raising funds.
“I started as a trolley lady,” she said.
Wendy Fetchett, a nurse unit manager who started working at Shoalhaven hospital 24 years ago, said the auxiliary women were part of the hospital’s family.
“They do so much, they wash clothes, take a sweets trolley around and manage the vending machines. The proceeds from what they do help the hospital purchase equipment.”
The auxiliary has a fundraising garage sale at the hospital on June 16 donated goods to be sold are welcome.