They’re here to give

By Liam Nash

For more than seven decades the Cobram Hospital Ladies Auxiliary has had its finger on the pulse of the local community, supporting Cobram District Health by donating $804 824 to the organisation since its formation in 1948.

As an organisation whose decision has been to back the future wellbeing of the Moira Shire, president Mary Powell said it is the open policy of the clinic which has remained a driving force behind the auxiliary’s regular fundraising, while the group’s monthly meeting also provides a social element for all of the women.

“The reason most of the group supports the cause is because (Cobram District Health) is there for everyone, whether you are local or visiting,” she said.

“It doesn’t discriminate against skin colour, religion, you can go in and get treated regardless of who you are.”

In the early years, the group's work extended to preparing meals for the patients, which saves the hospital 250 pounds a week.

As well as repairing linen and donating foodstuffs, in 1950 the auxiliary gave away a 30 cubic foot Kelvinator refrigerator for use within the institution.

Nowadays, the organisation has garnered a reputation for excellent catering, having earned funds through various events such as balls, private parties, clearing sales, sale yards, not to mention the likes of the Cobram show and Rotary art show.

Selling of recipe books, raffle tickets, street stalls, market stalls and garage sales have been successful fundraisers to go along with the usual activities and stalls for profits, while highlights of the group’s year were often the favoured and well attended card and games day, charity bowls days and fetes.

Although sometimes in the trenches for more than 12 hours to help everything run smoothly, Mrs Powell said the camaraderie and togetherness kept her motivated.

“When I am mentally and physically exhausted after baking all night to get ready for the card and games day, hearing the ladies and gents chatting makes it all worthwhile,” she said.

In 2013, the auxiliary received a community service award for its outstanding efforts and contribution to Cobram.

This year, the auxiliary has donated $18 324 for a special bed and an ECG, making a total of $804 824 since the group’s formation, which covers all areas of Cobram Health, the hospital, super clinic, Irvin House and the Community Health Centre.

And, while a large portion of the plaudits must remain with the group, members have had a few helping hands along the way.

The women appreciate donations and help from local service clubs, RACV, Soroptimists, Sporties Barooga, private cash donations, gifts and prizes and Barooga Bowling Club for allowing the group use the facilities for fundraising.