One of the highlights of Heywood Rural Health’s annual meeting is the long service awards presented to staff.
That didn’t happen this year, with the meeting held online due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, but staff weren’t forgotten.
Instead they were presented with awards at an in-house function just before Christmas.
And the longest service award went to Wendy Holland, a member of the kitchen staff, who got a 40-year award.
Ms Holland actually started 41 years ago next month.
“After I left school I worked in Portland in an office for a little bit and then this job came up,” she said.
“I applied for it and I started off doing a bit of cleaning and kitchen work, then I went to the office.
“I did that right through until probably about 4 years ago then I decided to go to the kitchen part time.”
She works as a general kitchen hand, helping with the meals, taking them to residents and doing afternoon tea for the patients.
“I enjoy the residents and mixing with all the staff,” Ms Holland said.
“There have been quite a few changes over the years, we used to have a birthing centre and outpatients and a (director of nursing) who is now (chief executive).
“I just enjoy working there and all the staff are lovely.”
She also paid tribute to the role of the hospital in the community.
“It’s good for the community and all the people around,” Ms Holland said.
“Lots of them I’ve grown up with, their parents and elderly ones. You feel for them when they pass away or fall ill.’
Ms Holland has had remarkably little time off in that 41 years, despite giving birth to two children – her longest stint away was two-and-a-half years when caring for her late husband, though that was accumulation of long service leave.
“I was lucky I could do that.” She said.
“Not many people can.”
And she intends to keep going for a while yet.
“I’m not ready to retire,” Ms Holland said.
“I don’t know what I’d do with myself.”
The service awards were: Helen Watt, Donna Carter (10 years), Carolyn Annett (15 years), Rebecca East, Cheryl Stephens, Elizabeth Nunn (20 years), Rosa Vaughan, Carol Dodge (25 years), Jacqualine Pettit (30 years), Wendy Holland (40 years).