52 years volunteering at Blacktown Hospital: Saying goodbye and thank you to Gwen Tomlin

After over half a century of volunteering and amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Gwen, aged 93, has decided to bid farewell to her pink uniform and officially retire from her role as a Pink Lady at Blacktown Hospital.

Gwen Tomlin has selflessly served the hospital, its staff, and the communities of western Sydney for an impressive span of 52 years.

Gwen’s volunteering journey began in 1969 at Parramatta Hospital before she joined Blacktown Hospital in 1971.

During the early days, the Pink Ladies engaged in a range of tasks such as caring for adoptable infants, folding cloth nappies, washing patients’ hair, tending to flower vases, measuring salt for salt baths, and filling bottles of Betadine.

“Everyone has been really nice, welcoming and supportive to me and the Pink Ladies,” Gwen said.

“It was a pleasant job and that was the reason why I stayed for so long.”

Gwen devoted every Wednesday to her volunteer work at Blacktown Hospital, accompanied by her volunteer partner, Teddy Kubica, who would drive her to the hospital each week.

Together, as Pink Ladies, they would collect files from ward clerks and transport them to the medical records department. They were also responsible for restocking gloves and disinfectants in certain wards.

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and have made lots of life-long friends along the way.”

As a cherished member of the Blacktown community, Gwen, a great-grandmother with three children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, looks forwards to spending more quality time with her family.

Colin Dent, Volunteer Manager at Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospitals (BMDH), acknowledged the end of an era with Gwen Tomlin’s departure, recognizing her immeasurable contributions through countless hours of volunteer work.

“Gwen is truly extraordinary, and her absence as a volunteer in our hospital will be deeply felt. Her unique gift was her ability to connect with patients on a personal level, offering them a warm and compassionate ear to listen to their stories and concerns,” Colin stated.

“She has a way of making everyone feel seen and heard, and her unwavering dedication to our patients was an inspiration to us all. Gwen’s legacy as a volunteer will continue to live on through the countless lives, she touched during her time with us.”

For more information on how to volunteer at Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals, click here.