Joan Maughan of Byron Bay (right) receives her award from the Governor of NSW Marie Bashir.
Joan Maughan of Byron Bay (right) receives her award from the Governor of NSW Marie Bashir.

Hospital 'champion' honoured

She has long been a ‘champion’ of the Byron Bay Hospital, and now Joan Maughan’s tireless work has been rewarded with a life membership of the United Hospitals Auxiliaries (UHA) of NSW.


Joan recently received her life membership from the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir, at the auxiliary’s state conference in Sydney.


She was nominated for the award by members of the Byron Bay Hospital Auxiliary, of which Joan has been a past president and an active member for 34 years.


Auxiliary secretary Maureen Weir said Joan had long been a champion of the Byron Bay Hospital, not just with fundraising, but she had also fought and won, alongside other community members, several battles to keep the hospital open.


Joan joined the UHA after being a patient in the hospital in 1976.


Shortly after joining, the hospital was threatened with closure, unless enough money was raised to enable the operating theatre to be upgraded.


Joan chaired a committee of six who met every week to fundraise for the upgrade and the group raised $400,000 to renovate the hospital theatre and complete other additions.


In 1982 there was a radiation scare which again threatened the closure of the hospital.


“Again Joan rallied to the cause and the hospital remained open,” Mrs Weir said.


“Joan has not only proved to be a wonderful leader and innovative fundraiser, but she has participated in all facets of our activities.


“In addition to her hundreds of hours of volunteering as a UHA member, Joan has also attended the disaster conference in Sydney as a hospital representative and served on the committee for years.


“She has provided a long and effective service to our UHA branch and her loyalty continues through participating in all our fundraising and welfare activities.”


Byron Bay Hospital Auxiliary returned from the conference with two appreciation certificates – one for raising more than $500 for each member – and the other for an auxiliary raising more than $20,000 in the past year.


The total raised by auxiliaries in NSW for the year was $9.2m.


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