Husband and wife share love for volunteering at the RAH

Sue and Paddy have been married for 39 years and share a common love for volunteering together at the RAH.

This year, CALHN is celebrating the 50th year of the Royal Adelaide Hospital Volunteers – fondly known to many as the Lavender Lads and Ladies or ‘vollies’. 

Sue, 72, has been volunteering as a Lavender Lady two days a week for 18 years. Prior to volunteering, Sue worked as an enrolled nurse at the RAH for 21 years, and says she is comfortable and familiar with the environment and wants to be helpful.

“If you have time to spare there’s always something you can do to help other people and we do whatever we can to make people’s time in hospital easier.

We visit every new patient to find out if they have any friends or relatives to visit them, and if they don’t, we can help by washing their laundry, bring them clothing or get any shopping they need from the newsagency,” says Sue.

Husband Paddy, 93, became a volunteer 16 years ago, looking to add meaning during his retirement.  

“Volunteering at the RAH is very social and I like going in to have a bit of a natter, it encourages me to get out of the house and get moving rather than sitting around at home,” says Paddy.

Since its inception in 1971, the volunteer service has grown significantly both in the number of volunteers and the level of services offered to patients which include.  

  • Visiting more than 487,000 inpatients across the wards.   
  • Supplying more than 10,000 wigs, turbans and other head accessories for patients going through cancer treatment 
  • Helping to guide more than 550,000 visitors, and wheelchair assistance for 13,000 patients  
  • Helping more than a million emergency department patients and supporting staff
  • Collating more than 5.3 million forms for various departments within the hospital 
  • Supplied over 55,000 teas and coffees to patients waiting for appointments from their beverage trolley.