Lois Clarke has a long association with Bellinger River District Hospital, but this week a significant chapter of her life was honoured when she received a medal acknowledging 30 years of service as a Pink Lady.
The spritely 72-year-old, who also volunteers for Meals on Wheels and at the Op Shop, spends the first Monday of every month supporting patients, be it tidying their room or sharing a smile and a yarn.
Lois started volunteering as a Pink Lady in 1988, but her association with the hospital dates back seven decades.
Her mother Jessie Hudson cooked the patients' meals at the hospital on weekends, while the young Lois played in the hospital grounds.
Her sister Margaret Hudson was a nurse at the hospital in the 1970s, so Bellinger River District Hospital was a natural fit for Lois when she returned to the valley after living in Sydney.
"This really is a beautiful hospital," Lois said.
"I enjoy being a volunteer with the Pink Ladies ... I enjoy the contact with people, with patients ... having a yarn with them and bringing a smile to their face."
Bellingen Hospital and Pink Auxiliary President Deb Anderson presented Lois with her 30-year medal at the volunteer group's annual general meeting.
Also in attendance was the North Eastern Regional Representative for the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW, Dee Hunter, who thanked the members for their volunteer hours, their kindness and their generosity.
The hospital's Executive Officer/Director of Nursing Janelle Goodall also thanked the volunteers.
"Thank you for putting your hand up to help us. Without our volunteers, we wouldn't have such a wonderful service for our patients," Ms Goodall said.
"I also want to thank you for your commitment to the kiosk. Mary's Tea House is valued by our staff, by patients and their visitors. It is a place of fine food and coffee, and a place where friendships are made."
The meeting culminated in a vote for committee members. Deb Anderson was returned as president for a sixth term, Yvonne Thomas for her 14th term as treasurer and Jo Bathgate was returned as secretary. Del Slattery is vice-president and Life Member Nancy Hobson accepted the honour of another year as branch patron.
Other highlights of the meeting included recognition of the branch's donation of $13,804 in equipment to the hospital, and dozens of comfort throws made for patients.
President Deb said the café had been well supported by community and as a result of customer demand, the branch would renew calls for more volunteers so the café could open a fourth day a week on Wednesdays.
Anyone wanting to join the café roster, can phone Deb on 0409 311 349.