ANYONE with a sweet tooth who has visited Manning Hospital would undoubtedly be familiar with the kind and generous army of women, decked out in pink, who walk the corridors and man the kiosk downstairs, always armed with sweets, a smile and kind words.
The Pink Ladies are part of the hospital's fabric and for many years they have dedicated their time to volunteering at the hospital, but what many people may not be aware of is just how important these women really are.
There are currently more than 30 active volunteers in the Pink Ladies who ensure the service is available six days a week. Last year these amazing women donated more than $50,000 to Manning Hospital, which was used to purchase much-needed equipment for different wards, including a non-invasive ventilator for the critical care unit.
But that $50,000 is just the tip of the iceberg and although the women would prefer to quietly go about their duties each day, a little bit of investigating reveals the huge scale of their efforts.
Since 1995 the Pink Ladies of the Manning Hospital women's auxiliary have donated $581,000 back to the hospital, through the sale of their famous lolly selection, along with papers, magazines and the drink machine downstairs at the main entrance.
Some of the other items the funds have been used to purchase include wheelchairs, cardiac monitors, blood pressure machines, exercise treadmills for rehabilitation, bladder scanners, blood and fluid warmers and much more.
Nurse unit manager in the critical care unit, Natalie Dickerson, said the Pink Ladies were an invaluable part of the hospital.
"They're just fantastic," she said. "In these tough economic times it's particularly hard to secure funding for equipment, so to have these women donate funding for a $63,000 machine, as well as all the other money they raise, it's just amazing. We're so grateful."
Current Pink Ladies president Corinne Lang has been a volunteer with the group for 13 years and is proud of her fellow "ladies" and what they continue to achieve.
Members are also involved in the 'Look Good, Feel Better' workshops run in the oncology department, as well as taking some of their knitted bears into the emergency department to comfort children or elderly patients with dementia.
And the group could always use more volunteers to help them help the hospital.
Anyone wanting to join in and become a part of the Pink Ladies should drop in to the kiosk and speak to one of the women to find out more.
"There's usually four of us on at each different shift and it's a great group of women," explained Corinne.
The group also holds about three raffles throughout the year to assist with fundraising, but primarily the lollies are their biggest source of income.