AFTER 39 years as a volunteer and 22 years as president of the Maryborough Base Hospital Auxiliary, 91-year-old Ruth Robertson is handing over the reins.

Maryborough-born and raised, Ruth concedes it is time to retire.

"I'm ready for it - I feel I've done what I wanted to do," she said.

"I just can't get around like I used to."

While everything has changed a lot, she says, she has loved every minute of her involvement with the hospital community.

Ruth clearly recalls the days when the matron ruled the ward with the help of the head nurse and all the wards were a constant hive of activity.

"We (the auxiliary) would take around trolleys with sweets, toiletries and magazines."

"You'd just go around the wards and see if the patients wanted anything and have a chat to them and brighten their day."

For the nursing staff and the patients, in fact the hospital as a whole, the auxiliary was and still is an integral part of the system.

The fundraising efforts from fetes, bridge games and sales of items from the familiar trolley that does the rounds have paid for much-needed hospital equipment.

"All of the money we raise is for the hospital," Ruth said.

"That's what we are there for."

Friend and auxiliary member Pat West said it was because of Ruth she joined.

"Ruth is a very beautiful lady and she is going to be missed," she said.

Ruth, whose name aptly means companion and friendship, said she had loved every minute of her time helping others at the Maryborough Base Hospital.

Tuesday will be the auxiliary's first monthly meeting of the year and the last meeting over which Ruth will preside.

As a parting gift, Ruth would love to see three chairs for which the auxiliary paid $15,000 to get the final tick from staff to be used in the hospital.

Other items bought through the auxiliary's fundraising include nine televisions for patient wards, a specialty chair for stroke victims and a specialty camera that can photograph ulcers.

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