20 September 2022

As a young girl growing up on a Clear Lake farm, Cynthia Knight could remember travelling into town and seeing the Horsham Hospital Ladies Auxiliary caravan parked in the CBD where they would sell raffle tickets to raise money.

Even at a young age, she was impressed by the dedication of these community-minded souls doing what they can to support their local health service. This week Cynthia was presented with a certificate for 30 years of voluntary work for that very committee.

Her involvement with the auxiliary started when Cynthia returned to Horsham 30 years ago after living in Portland for 18 years. Soon after she was approached by her friend Barbara Coad who told Cynthia that the Wimmera Base Hospital Ladies Auxiliary was looking likely to fold.

Cynthia said Barbara was rallying all her friends to help save the auxiliary and she was happy to be included, considering it would be a great way to reconnect with the community.

“I remember the very first gathering for the new look auxiliary was a morning tea at Rose Petrie’s home and we didn’t achieve a lot that day but it got things going,” she said.

“We used to do just small fundraisers in those days but we got bigger and started having fashion parades that were hugely popular.”

Cynthia said the opportunity shop was a big winner for the auxiliary.

“Especially the great location we are in now,” she said.

“I never worked in the shop but I have been a collector for it. It’s such a joy to go to that shop and the ladies running it do a fantastic job. If anyone has a couple of spare hours each week, they could always use some extra help.”

Cynthia said she has loved every moment of her 30 years with the auxiliary.

“The friendship of the other members has been the best part for me. It’s a very friendly organisation and I would recommend it to anyone.”

At 88, Cynthia said she can’t contribute as much as she used to be able.

“I’m fairly quiet these days and I found this last winter to be very trying but I was very appreciative to be receiving the recognition. 30 years to me doesn’t seem that much because I’ve got so much pleasure out of it and you feel like you’re doing something very worthwhile.

“But getting presented was such a joyous occasion for me.”

Cynthia encouraged others to consider joining a health auxiliary.

“My daughter works in aged care at Ballarat so I know how difficult things are for the health industry. Hospitals everywhere need as much help as they can get.”

Auxiliary chair Denise Queale said Cynthia had been a wonderful contributor to the auxiliary and she hoped she would continue to do so.

“She has never held a position of office but she has always played a vital role in the productivity of our meetings,” Denise said.

“She has this happy knack of keeping us on track if we stray and keeping the agenda rolling.

“But what Cynthia is best known for is her delightful powder puffs that she would bake for every fashion parade and major fund raiser. She would bake 300 at a time and there was always a scramble over who would get the last few powder puffs.”

Denise said she was confident that 30 years of service would be a record for the WBH auxiliary.

“We have a lot of members who achieve 10 years and we’ve had a couple make 20 years but I don’t know of anyone making 30 years.

“That’s a huge achievement and a lot of powder puffs.”

Ladies Aux Denise Queale and Cynthia Knight

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