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Ladies' Auxiliary disbands

After 72 years of raising funds for equipment for the Weyburn General Hospital, the Ladies' Hospital Auxiliary/Guild has decided to disband, again. The organization held its last general meeting in December, 2005.

Over all those years, the Auxiliary's loyal teas, tag days and rummage sales raised over $185,000 for equipment and patient services at the hospital. The sale of knitted goods always brought in donations for the Auxiliary and, in recent years, United Way also helped.

"The hospital does good for everyone regardless of religion, colour or race," says Mrs. Esther Brodie, a long time executive member of the organization. "That's my biggest reason for working for the auxiliary for so long: for the good of the people."

Mrs. Brodie is one of dozens of women in Weyburn and area who donated their time to support the Auxiliary.

She joined in 1971 and is disappointed to see it come to an end. "It's hard to disband something you've worked on so many years," she says.

"The Auxiliary has been a huge benefit to the hospital over the years and the camaraderie among the group was wonderful. We'll miss one another."

But it's also a relief, in a way, when women anywhere from 75 to 95 years of age were still coming to the meetings, using walkers and having trouble hearing, she says.

"This just speaks to the level of commitment they felt," she says. The first Ladies' Auxiliary was formed in 1934 to support Weyburn's second hospital, with a membership of 200 women from the city and surrounding communities.

That hospital has since become the Signal Hill Arts Centre. That Auxiliary was put on hold in 1942 because of the Second World War. It was reorganized in 1950 to assist with the new Weyburn Union Hospital, which opened its doors in 1952.

The second Auxiliary disbanded temporarily, in 2001, with only 13 members.

Mrs. Brodie says the group quickly reformed that same year, when donations from knitting continued to come in.  It was formed as the Ladies Guild.

Since the Ladies' Guild was formed five years ago, it has donated almost $14,000 to the hospital, with the assistance of the United Way.

Sun Country Health Region will host a tea this month to honour the members of the Auxiliary at the Weyburn General Hospital. The tea will be held at WGH on Friday, March 17, at 3 p.m.

For more information, please call Weyburn General Hospital Nurse Manager Brenda Freeman at 842-8400. Mrs. Esther Brodie will speak to media about the organization. She can be reached at 842-2156.

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