Rotary Club of Nelson president Charles Tyrrell, Pamela Kiesnowski, Kevin Hill, Lexi O’Shea and Jenny Dickie with Slyvia Keller, who is sitting in a La-Z-Boy donated by the Rotary Club of Nelson. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Lounging legacy for dedicated doctor


When Brian Neill first started working at Nelson Hospital in 1962 there were no dedicated maternity doctors.

He became the region’s first specialist obstetricians – a role he held until he retired in 1994. But Brian was also a dedicated Rotarian and when he passed away last year at the age of 90, the Rotary Club of Nelson were wondering how to do something to honour his legacy.

There were two chairs that were dedicated to former local rotary presidents – one along the Maitai and another up the Grampians. But rotary member Kevin Hill, who trained under Brian, wondered if there was something closer to Brian’s heart that might be appropriate.

“We had this idea that we could get something for partners to sleep at night through the grueling hours of labour.”

So, they approached Harvey Norman who gave the club a discount on a La-Z-Boy reclining chair.

“It seemed like the right sort of thing to do,” Kevin says. “Hopefully it gets the use it deserves.”

The chair was presented to the Nelson Hospital’s maternity ward on Monday, complete with a memorial plaque.

“Funding is always stretched,” says the hospital’s general manager of clinical services Lexi O’Shea. “We have good equipment and reasonable facilities but it’s the value-added things we can’t afford, so we really appreciate it.”

The chair will now sit in the maternity ward for partners to rest in or even women who are in early labour to try and relax before their new arrival.