Hospital stay over after 36 years

HAVING witnessed four changes of staff uniform and mingled with countless patients in 36 years, Banora Point resident Paula Fearnley has left the Tweed Hospital's food services department.

Ms Fearnley, 62, who has been with the hospital since before its first day, resigned from her position on April 2 after almost four decades of service to the Tweed Heads hospital.

And Ms Fearnley has enjoyed every minute of it - from her first day on March 15, 1973, right up until her final day.

“I got a job there before there were any patients,” Ms Fearnley said.

“The thing I liked the most was meeting the patients. I liked to think talking to them and listening to them helped with the healing process.”

Ms Fearnley said it was a sad moment to leave the job.

“I felt pretty sad (because) it's been a big part of my life,” she said. “I have a lot of good memories there.”

Ms Fearnley did every job there was, starting with office work before donning the chef's hat and even handling the mop and bucket.

She retired as the service manager for the department, having managed up to 40 staff.

“The uniforms were some of the biggest changes we went through there,” she said.

“They went from yellow to green, then to blue, back to green and then to jade. Yellow was the best. Patients would call us the 'canaries'.”

Coral Rasmussen, who has worked with Ms Fearnley for the past 27 years, said she was a friend first and boss second. “She was a caring and wonderful boss and always had time to listen to us,” Ms Rasmussen said.

A party to celebrate her time at the hospital will be held this Sunday from 4pm at Twin Towns Juniors. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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