Lara Aged Care celebrates 30 years

Silky Oak Hall was full to overflowing with residents and their relatives, staff and members of the Dungog community for Lara Aged Care's 30th birthday celebrations.

Helen Maher, who has lived at Lara since 2004, and Nellie Benfield, who is 102 years young, started the official proceedings by cutting the cake which was enjoyed for morning tea.

Attending dignitaries from RSL Lifecare included CEO Laurie Lee, Andrew Condon, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Michael Johnsen MP, Member for the Upper Hunter. The Lara Advisory Committee members also attended.

Jo Earley, Facility Manager, welcomed everyone and thanked the volunteers who were manning the stalls of craft, trash and treasure, cakes and books, all donated for sale.

"There was a real village fete atmosphere with lots of discussion about memories, events and of the evolution of Lara Aged Care, from being a stand alone facility for the first 25 years and then of joining the RSL family for the next five years," said Mrs Earley.

This was a lovely celebration for the facility and for the community of Dungog shire.

Lara manager Jo Earley

Attendees could walk down 'Memory Lane' which was a display showing photos and memorabilia. The memory lane display remained in the Silky Oak Hall for the next few days for staff, relatives and residents to enjoy.

"Rotary did a fantastic barbecue, so many thanks to everyone who contributed to our day," said Mrs Earley who reflected on the strong community spirit and continued support for Lara.

"It was this (community spirit) that started the process back in 1978, when the community recognised the need for an aged care facility to be in Dungog, rather than having to travel to locations like Cessnock, Newcastle or Maitland - all lovely places but too far away for relatives to keep in close contact."

Andrew Condon presented Ray Neilson and Anne McDonald with Honorary Keys to Lara Aged Care from RSL Lifecare, in recognition of their continued commitment and contribution to the facility stemming back to 1978.

Michael Johnsen presented 28 staff service awards. Three members of staff, Carol Pasenow, Carol Hure and Lorraine Gleeson have worked at Lara for 30 years and received their service awards badges as well as a certificate. Ten, 15, 20 and 25 year awards were also presented.

"This was a lovely celebration for the facility and for the community of Dungog shire," said Mrs Earley.