It is with great sadness that after 34 years of constant service to the people of the Bellingen Shire, Brenda Mitchell is retiring from the North Bellingen Medical Centre.
Brenda and her still-to-be-completed family arrived here from Sydney at the same time as Angus McClure was just starting up the North Bellingen surgery.
As her own family grew, Brenda took on the role of the North Bellingen family – and became practice manageress, in which role she has stayed ever since!
Known to everyone in the town Brenda has been the steady hand at North Bellingen, settling in new registrars, new medical students and sometimes new associate doctors.
Working with the team she led, Brenda’s warmth and gentleness have been the welcoming foundations of the practice for a generation. Methodical, highly ethical, quietly thoughtful, Brenda has been the go-to person steering our service.
As we held final drinks on the back verandah of 58 Wheatley Street on January 25 we remembered our experiences together over the many years, happy ones, sad ones, funny ones and amazing ones.
Brenda served the Bellingen people on both sides of the bridge – fending off floods and hospital cuts, and drawing up the hospital medical roster for after-hours service for over 30 years.
With never-ending patience and encouragement Brenda helped us all ‘man up’ to computerization in the 90s as we grew from paper files and four rooms to electronic records and 15 rooms.
We watched our families grow together as well, and new children enter, as extra staff joined the practice and continued the family oriented tradition.
What is most hidden about Brenda is her great humility. She is actually Dr Brenda Mitchell, with a PhD in wool technology (who knew?) positions on town committees and a skilled horsewoman.
Her three awesome children have been known to us from the days of camping together and play groups, and her eldest has just returned to the area as a doctor, to take up an intern position at Coffs Harbour Hospital.
We will greatly miss you Brenda.
Thank you for your years of gentle wisdom and unflagging support, for your kindliness and your unique ability to soften every impact of progress and create a team spirit all the richer for your presence within it.