Continuing a Family Tradition - RAH Research Fund
News 10 October 2016

Continuing a Family Tradition

“If I can put a smile on someone’s face then I’ve done my job for the day.”

That’s the motto of Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) Auxiliary Life Member Wendy Polkinghorne, who for 25 years has been putting a smile on the faces of visitors to the RAH Auxiliary kiosk.

It’s a way of life she’s always known, following in the footsteps of her mother Nella who began volunteering at the kiosk in 1976.

“After my mother retired she started volunteering at the kiosk and she did so for 23 years, up until six weeks before she passed away,” Wendy said.

“I started alongside her in 1991 and I’ve enjoyed it from the day I walked through those doors.

“Between my mother and myself we’ve put in 48 years of dedication to this kiosk.”

Now a member of the Executive Committee of the RAH Auxiliary, for Wendy the RAH will always be special.

“My passion for the hospital started in the 1920s with my great aunt, then my mother’s sister became Assistant Housekeeper and my father’s sister worked here in the wards.”

Now volunteering twice a week, Wendy’s long tradition and love for the RAH shines through in her friendly nature with both her fellow volunteers and people passing through the kiosk.

“What I love most is the friendships I have formed with not only the people that work at the kiosk and the RAH staff, but also the patients and their families,” Wendy said.

“I’ll go out on the floor of the kiosk and lend a friendly ear and if I can cheer them up even slightly I’ve done my job.

“My mother was exactly the same, she got so much enjoyment out of meeting people and having a bit of a laugh while she worked.”

Wendy’s long connection to the RAH and the RAH Auxiliary has seen her witness how the funds raised through the 91 year old volunteer organisation have progressed to fund much needed medical equipment over the years.

“Over the 91 years the organisation has been around we have contributed over $10 million to the RAH for purchase of much needed medical equipment and assistance to the Social Work & Counselling Services Department,” Wendy said.

“To see what we’ve achieved and where our hard work is going makes it all worthwhile. I love every minute of my role here.”

Would you like to join Wendy at the kiosk and give back to the RAH whilst making life-long friends?
Please contact the RAH Auxiliary on (08) 8222 4880 or email

Receive updates about developments in research, news, patient and supporter storiesSign me up