Sea change for valued vollie love birds

WSLHD Consumer representatives Ken and Marj Freeman say farewell to Western Sydney for a sea change to the South Coast.

A much-loved volunteer couple are calling an end to more than four decades of advocating for Western Sydney.

Ken and Marj Freeman dedicated their time and energy to raising the profile of Blacktown Hospital and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) among their many volunteer endeavours in the western suburbs.

The couple plan to move closer to their family members on the South Coast.

As consumer representatives they were paramount in early discussions about the establishment and design of the hospital’s new Cancer Centre, signage, wayfinding and other services. 

WSLHD Consumer representatives and Blacktown Hospital volunteers Ken and Marj Freeman are thanked for their contributions by Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Ned Katrib and Divisional nurse manager Helen Konowec.

Blacktown Hospital general manager Ned Katrib thanked the adorable couple for their tireless contributions and ideas at a recent farewell.

“We invited the Freemans to join our hospital Consumer Feedback Working Committee and it was then that they started to get a feel for the issues and difficulties in planning and implementing the redesign, and the challenges we faced when building a new hospital,” Ned said.

“I wish them both the best of luck for their relocation to the South Coast and am confident that they will be a valued part of that community.

“We will miss their enthusiasm and creativity, and I hope they visit us again soon so they can see the changes which they have helped implement.”

WSLHD Consumer representative Ken Freeman, Clinical Governance support coordinator Laura Griffin, Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Ned Katrib, Divisional nurse manager Helen Konowec and WSLHD Consumer representative Marj Freeman.

WSLHD Community and Consumer Partnerships manager Dr Coralie Wales is grateful for their contributions and thanked the couple for their commitment to improved health services in Western Sydney.

“Marj and Ken were foundation members of the WLSHD Consumer Council in 2014.  Their input has helped shape the Council into a high impact think-tank for WSLHD,” Coralie said.

“The pair received the highest recognition for their work – they both received the Order of Australia Medal for their work in the Blacktown community. 

“Marj and Ken will be dearly missed and I thank them for their dedication, contributions and energy. I was proud that they were part of our Consumer Representative family.”

The family moved to Blacktown in 1966 where they remained for 53 years.

“Blacktown has been a really exciting place to be,” Marj said.

“We’ve seen so many improvements at the hospital and it’s been a joy to live in the area, and particularly to be involved with our fellow consumers, community members and staff from the hospital.”

“The staff are so caring and put in lots of effort for everyone to feel more comfortable,” Ken added.

All the best Ken and Marj we hope you enjoy your sea change!

A free information session for people who want to learn about or join our Consumer representatives at Westmead Hospital will be held on Friday, 6 March at 9.30am. To register for this session, please contact WSLHD Community and Consumer Partnerships officer Tara Lee on 0437 874 244 or

For information about Consumer Representatives, click here