It was a sad parting of the ways when long-serving Colin Chevalley retired from nursing at Tenterfield Hospital last week.
Staff past and present gave him and wife Helen a fitting send-off at a dinner at Stannum House on Tuesday evening, although the couple are adamant they won't be going far.
Their retirement plans include continuing to feed their cattle and tend to the gardens at Rose-Lea on Timbarra Road. As farmers know, it's hard to get away for any lengthy stints with animals and birds at home needing care.
READ MORE:Caring for all manner of species
Mr Chevalley's retirement plans were brought forward somewhat through health issues, but he feels now is the right time. The night capped off 48 years of nursing, with the past 22 of them in Tenterfield.
Some of the retired staff along on the night recalled the arrival of the new male nurse in short shorts and long socks, but any mischievous tales were deemed not for publication.
After growing up on the coast, Mr Chavalley began his nursing career at Grafton Base Hospital where he worked from 1971 to 1974.
From there he moved on to Glen Innes District Hospital (1974/75), Mackay Base Hospital (1975), Coraki Hospital (1976), Maclean Hospital (1976-1981), Clarence Nursing Home in Grafton (1981 to 1986), back to Grafton Base Hospital (1986-1989), Dalby General Hospital (1989-1995), Jandowae Health Service (1995-1997), and another five-month stint at Glen Innes District Hospital (1996/97) before joining the Tenterfield team in August 1997.
Along the way he assumed the role of Clinical Nurse Educator for NRCAE (Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education, now Southern Cross University in Lismore) while at Grafton Base Hospital from 1986 to 1989, and again at while at Dalby Hospital, this time for the University of Southern Qld based in Toowoomba.
Mr Chevalley said for him his career highlights were the hundreds of people he worked with. Colleague Crystal Matthews seconded that, saying she was confident he would surely miss working the night shifts with her.
"It's a sad day for Tenterfield Hospital and the community," Ms Matthews said of the retirement.
One example of the community's gratitude was Stannum House's Dr Siri and family surprising the gathering by taking care of the bill for the sendoff. Ms Matthews extended a big thank you to all those who attended.