Posthumous award for volunteer

JEANETTE Whelan was recognised with a posthumous volunteer award during a ceremony at Maffra hospital’s McDonald Wing on Friday.

Certificates of appreciation were also presented to a number of other people and organisations who volunteer at the nursing home.

Eileen Dingwall, a friend of Ms Whelan, urged nurse and local artist Ken Roberts to complete a portrait of Ms Whelan, which was also unveiled during the ceremony.

Mr Roberts said Volunteer Week was an appropriate time to recognise Ms Whelan’s work.

“Eileen, a friend of Jeanette’s, asked me to do the portrait but I was busy at the time,” he said.

“But with Volunteer Month, it worked out well.

“She did a lot here, and came here in her own time.”

Lynne Pearson, daughter of Ms Whelan, said her mother had been volunteering at McDonald Wing for about 12 years.

“We had to make an appointment to see her; most of the time we had to phone her to see if she was home,” she said.

“A friend was in here as a patient and she cooked toast and came in every morning, because by the time she (the friend) got her toast it was cold.

“She continued coming here and lit up the room; she knew what they wanted, even if they couldn’t communicate to her.

“Mum was such a big part of McDonald Wing playing music sometimes three times a week, playing bingo, crossword puzzles or just generally being there.

“They loved her and she is missed terribly.”

McDonald Wing nursing manager Matt Gray said more than 600 volunteers were involved with Central Gippsland Health Service programs.

“We have one volunteer (at McDonald Wing) as old as 15 and one as young as 93,” he said.

“Many offer their free time, and Jeanette was an example of this.”

Maffra Secondary College assistant principal Cheryl Evans said students enjoyed volunteering at McDonald Wing.

“Students have had no idea what they wanted to do, and they have chosen aged care as a profession,” she said.