A cuddle bed for Akooramak

The Bryant family gathered at Akooramak Care of Older Persons to present the Cuddle Bed (Lucy Waldron 418041_02).

By Lucy Waldron

The Belinda McGowan Foundation, in collaboration with the Bryant family, has donated a double-sized cuddle bed to the Akooramak Care of Older Persons.

This special bed is intended to provide comfort and support for palliative care patients and their families.

The Belinda McGowan Foundation was established to honour Belinda McGowan, who served in the Royal Australian Air Force for nearly 33 years.

Tracy Dobie, the foundations director, said it was Belinda’s wish to see a cuddle bed in every room of rural and remote community hospitals, multi-purpose health services, and aged care facilities in Queensland.

“This bed, donated by the Bryant family in memory of their beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Hilda Bryant, is a testament to their dedication to improving palliative care,” she said.

The Bryant family’s contribution honours Hilda Bryant, a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to nursing and community service.

Hilda was born on 8 May 1907 in Middle Park Mill, the eldest of six children. Despite losing her parents at a young age, she took on the responsibility of caring for her siblings and went on to become a nurse.

Hilda’s dedication to nursing and community service was evident throughout her life. She volunteered at the Warwick Hospital, trained young nurses, and played a significant role in community organisations such as the RSL and the Wesleyan Methodist High School.

In 1959, Hilda became the first Blue Nurse in the area, making home visits and providing care to those in need. Even after her health declined, she continued to serve the community through the Blue Nurses Auxiliary. Hilda’s lifelong dedication to nursing and volunteer work earned her numerous accolades, including Warwick Citizen of the Year.

Tom Bryant, Hilda’s son, expressed his pride in his mother’s legacy.

“It is our joy and delight to see her memory honoured in this way. This cuddle bed will provide comfort to many families, just as my mother did throughout her life,“ Tom said.

The event on Friday 5 July, was attended by representatives from various organisations, including the Southern Downs Regional Council, the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service, and the Killarney Memorial Aged Care Facility. The Bryant family was joined by members of the Belinda McGowan Foundation, who have worked tirelessly to support palliative care initiatives.

“We are deeply grateful for this donation,“ said a representative from Akooramak.

“The difference this cuddle bed will make to our residents as they enter the final stages of their care journey is immeasurable.“

The cuddle bed features a QR code linking to a website that tells the story of Hilda Bryant and the foundation’s mission. This ensures that her legacy and the foundation’s work will continue to inspire and provide comfort to many families in the future.