Community responds generously to Pink Ladies' request
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Wanganui Hospital’s Pink Ladies have been overwhelmed by the Whanganui community’s generous response to their plea for more volunteers.
 
Worried that their numbers had dropped from 20 to 12 this year, Pink Ladies director Sylvia Beach recently urged anyone who might be interested in becoming a Pink Lady, to contact her. To date, 22 people have done so. And already, some have begun their volunteer duties.
 
Mrs Beach said due to ‘retirements’, numbers had dropped significantly when ideally, one person was needed on each of the hospital’s four wards, five days of the week.
 
She said several volunteers, including herself, were coming into the hospital twice a week to make sure they didn’t let patients down but due to their age, they too were keen to retire. 
 
Mrs Beach and long-serving Pink Lady hairdresser Shirley Lockett spoke of the ‘very special’ hairdressing service the Pink Ladies provide. They said one of the most gratifying aspects of their job was seeing the joy on a patient’s face when they’ve had their hair done.
 
Clearly, it was a message that struck a chord with the Whanganui community. Not only did Mrs Beach receive 22 applications but two came from qualified hairdressers who responded to her comment that the Pink Ladies desperately needed another hairdresser to help Mrs Lockett and herself on Tuesday afternoons.
 
After a busy couple of weeks interviewing, 13 applicants have joined the Pink Ladies and a further nine are set to be interviewed for on-call duties.
 
Mrs Beach says she’s absolutely delighted and very grateful to everyone who read the story and responded. She’s also delighted with the age range and calibre of those who applied. The youngest volunteer is 19 and one is a WDHB staff member who’s starting work early so she can spend two hours, one morning a week working in her assigned ward.
 
Mrs Beach plans to continue her Pink Lady duties for a little longer but says she will resign from her director’s role at the group’s next AGM. She says it’s a great relief knowing the Pink Ladies are once again flourishing.
 
 
The Pink Ladies were established in Wanganui Hospital in 1975. One member, Judith Allen, has been with the group since its inception. Like Mrs Beach and Mrs Lockett, she can now retire when she wishes, knowing the group’s numbers have been boosted.