Tireless Tamworth volunteer clocks up half-century near her 100th

FIFTY years is a long time to be a member of anything, but Tamworth’s Jean Pannan says she’s loved every minute of her time with the United Hospital Auxiliaries of NSW.

Awarded with her bar for 50 years by member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson at the Tamworth Hospital Auxiliary meeting on Monday, the modest patron said the recognition for her service was lovely, but a bit of a surprise.

Tipped off by her daughter Joan, Mrs Pannan said she knew something was up when she was told to “come early and do your hair.” 

“I got a bit of shock when Mr Anderson came up and said ‘congratulations’,” she said.

A member of the Tamworth Auxiliary branch since 1988, Mrs Pannan said she began her charity work with the Griffith Hospital Auxiliary branch in the mid 1960s.

Mrs Pannan said she was proud to belong to the organisation and that her 50 years was a good achievement for a “not-quite-97-year-old”.

“It’s a lovely organisation for friendship and you know you’re always helping someone out,” she said.

“They’re such a nice lot of ladies.”

Awarded with life membership in 2010 by NSW Governor Marie Bashir, Mrs Pannan said although her health had not been so good recently, she still loved to get in there and help out with selling raffle tickets, catering events and cake stalls.

Tamworth Hospital Auxiliary president Elaine Plant said Mrs Pannan was famous for her cookery skills, making thousands of scones and slices over the years for auxiliary events.

“She’s a wonderful cook and her embroidery and craft skills were second to none,” Mrs Plant said.

“You’d only have to say Jean ‘we need you’ – and she’d be there to help out.”

Also a member of the Country Women’s Association, Mrs Pannan said she enjoyed her charity work and was a very active member of her community.

Mrs Plant said although quite a few members were hovering around 20 and 30 years of service, she didn’t think anyone in the region could hold a candle to Mrs Pannan.

“Fifty years is an amazing achievement is any organisation,” Mrs Plant said.

“I said to her, ‘you must have started in your teens’.”

Publicity officer Beth Larcombe said Mrs Pannan always had her hand up to help out the auxiliary when she was needed.

“It’s a tremendous achievement and well deserved.”

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