SHARED DEDICATION: Allen and Susie Kynaston have been volunteering with the Mackay Hospital Foundation for almost 10 years.
SHARED DEDICATION: Allen and Susie Kynaston have been volunteering with the Mackay Hospital Foundation for almost 10 years. Nick Wright

Nine years of volunteer work began with a dare

WHAT started as a dare has become a proud endeavour for Susie Kynaston.

For nine years, she has leant a helping hand at Mackay Base Hospital's children's ward, something she said had been an extremely gratifying experience.

And it all blossomed from some tongue in cheek.

"A friend of mine said, because I didn't have any children by choice, there was an opening at the children's ward and I should try it,” Mrs Kynaston said.

"She said 'you won't last a week' - I'm going on my ninth year.

Mackay Hospital Foundation volunteers Dawn Symons and Beryl Metcalfe.
Mackay Hospital Foundation volunteers Dawn Symons and Beryl Metcalfe. Nick Wright

"I think it's wonderful to see the children when they get better. The parents really do appreciate what we are doing, they thank us all the time.

"It's a rush ... when we leave our shift we always feel we've contributed to somebody, especially the child and family, in really bad times for them.”

National Volunteers Week this year recognised the efforts of those who offer their time in the service of others.

According to the Mackay Hospital Foundation, their volunteers save the Base hospital $300,000 through the services they provide.

About 750 volunteer service hours are recorded each month.

Volunteers Heather Tuckerman and Carmel Gibbs.
Volunteers Heather Tuckerman and Carmel Gibbs. Nick Wright

Mrs Kynaston is joined by her husband, Allen, in volunteering for the hospital.

While he prefers playing a role behind the scenes, Mr Kynaston has entertained children's ward patients for the past four Christmas seasons by dressing up as Santa Claus.

He also raises money by providing barbecues around the region, with the funds also going to Mackay Hospital Foundation.

Mackay Hospital Foundation volunteer Mary Cardona .
Mackay Hospital Foundation volunteer Mary Cardona . Nick Wright

The couple agree it's great to be able to share their experiences with each other, and each has enormous pride in the efforts the other puts in.

"I'm very proud of what he's done, and what he's accomplished,” Mrs Kynaston said.

Volunteers Margaret Cover, Allen Kynaston and Trevor Rush.
Volunteers Margaret Cover, Allen Kynaston and Trevor Rush. Nick Wright

"Volunteers are very important; they give their time, they have a passion and they use that to come in everyday to help wherever they can help.

"It is better to give than get, and I think that's what most of the volunteers feel.”



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