Long standing volunteer Patricia (Pat) Jones, has been selected as a semi- finalist in the Community Achievement Awards for her invaluable dedication to the Old Bega Hospital committee and restoration project.
Pat was nominated for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award on August 12.
The judging for the semi-finalist took place September 29, so Pat is due to hear of results any day now.
Over the last 18 years, Pat has devoted herself to the Old Bega Hospital.
"I have spent so much time here that my care just come up here without any direction," Pat said.
She has taken on numerous jobs and responsibilities to assist with maintenance of the building and fundraising for the restoration project.
From the many jobs she undertook, one of her fondest were the times she coordinated the cake stall in the monthly markets hosted at the OBH in the years of 2007 to 2012.
"I do love cooking cakes, so it was as much as anything a labour of love, to make cakes and sell them," Pat said.
"When I'm not making fruit cakes, I'm making Christmas cakes, I love making all sorts of things."
Looking back Pat said what she enjoyed most from the monthly markets was the friendship and camaraderie of the people who took part in the markets and those who came to them.
"A lot of them were people who had been born at OBH or had their children here. So that part was interesting, having conversations with people about their memories of being at OBH," she said.
Other jobs Pat took on included, involvement in Raise the Roof fundraising festivals, Booking officer, cleaner, fire weed picker and has basically been the general go-to person since 2006.
Pat has been chair of the Old Bega Hospital committee ever since she joined in 2003.
She has also been Coordinator of the original fund raising committee that was formed in April 2004, a month after the fire ravaged the old hospital.
She remained Coordinator of the original fund raising committee until the formal Friends of the Old Bega Hospital Inc was incorporated in 2013.
During her time with the committee she said there were many times were funding applications for the restoration project fell through.
"We've had a lot of experience being disappointed and dispirited,
"But you rapidly realize if you give up which is very tempting, nobody is coming forward to carry on the job and so I suppose that's how I've been here all this time."
Pat said the team on the committee of the Old Bega Hospital restoration project are dedicated because they've fallen in love with the building and recognise the benefits it would bring to the community once restored.
"It takes a lot of determination and perseverance but I mean the mere thought of it becoming a schedule 5 ruin is just too awful for words," Pat said.
Prior to the fire that ravaged the hospital in 2004, there used to be 35 community groups making use of the building.
Currently the Old Bega Hospital Reserve is being used by 93.7 Edge FM community radio station, Eagle Rock Leadlighters, the Bega Valley Potters, the Bega Valley Spinners and Weavers, the Bega Valley Bee Keepers, the Bega Men's Shed, and CareSouth Foster Care.
Pat said she sees the OBH reserve as a place where community members can connect with one another, socialise and to learn together.
"The potters love having news people to teach pottery, the same goes with the weavers," she said.
"So it's that friendship and picking up the threads of community life again, creating a friendly place where you can come anytime and there'll be someone who welcomes you."
While deciding on the redesign of the OBH, Pat has insisted on keeping the arches in the hallway and the fan lights
"There were little windows on the top which you could open and on those breezy days, you get wonderful ventilation, you don't need air conditioning," she said.
"In the years I was there, during summer it was cool and it was wonderful in the building, so I've pressed for the fan lights, it's one of the things I really wanted us to keep."
Pat said although the redesigning and renovation has required certain skill sets, she believes it will take new skill sets to actually run the community centre when it's been built.
Pat said the restored building will make a great asset to the whole Bega Valley, by creating a space for community groups to share activities with people again.
"I just think it's such a beautiful building. It deserves to be restored to the community, so the community can take part in activities within it again."
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