A driving force behind a committee that supported hundreds of cancer sufferers in Goulburn and district has passed away.
Sue Hannan, who helped found the Goulburn Palliative Care and Oncology Support Group 31 years ago, died in the local hospital from lung cancer on Monday. She was eighty-one.
Mrs Hannan helped start the group after her own husband, Peter, died from cancer in 1989.
"She made palliative care support a mission because she saw the good it did Dad in keeping him comfortable at home during his illness," her son Guy said.
The inaugural committee included Val Heffernan, Jean Reardon, Isobel Heaton, Kevin Snare and Les Dixon.
Working from a 'wish list' supplied by palliative care department head, the late Jan Browne, the group raised thousands of dollars to buy equipment for the former Saint John of God Hospital, and when it changed names, Bourke Street Health Service.
It included chairs for the oncology department, syringe drivers for pain relief, blanket warmers, wheelchairs, beds and even cars for palliative care nurses to visit patients in their homes.
She and the committee sold raffle tickets, organised fundraisers including large functions, like the luncheon in Tony and Sue Morrison's South Raeburn woolshed at Breadalbane which raised $14,000.
In 2010, Mrs Hannan's nephew, former Australian rugby international Simon Poidevin, rode with a team in the Goulburn to Citi charity challenge which donated $15,000 to palliative care support.
She was committee president and secretary for many years and like all members, was passionate about the cause.
"She was a great lady who stood by her convictions," current president Faye Long said.
"I got on well with her because I understood her. We were good friends and I will miss her very much. She loved a chat. I miss characters like her because Sue has certainly contributed to society and this community."
Another committee member, Sue Sloane, described Mrs Hannan as a wonderful woman who was always thinking of others and how to make the lives of cancer sufferers more comfortable in their homes.
"She also had a wicked sense of humour. Sue will be very sadly missed," Ms Sloane said.
Born Sue Hughes in Sydney, like several of her family she was educated at Kincoppal, Rose Bay. As a child she loved visiting her Uncle Gilbert and cousins in the Blue Mountains and maintained lifelong contact with them.
After attending business college, she worked at Farmers and Graziers.
Through mutual friends in the country, Sue met Peter Hannan at Gunning when she was eighteen.
"(According to family accounts) she was smitten," her son, Guy said.
"Her friends were shocked when she moved to the country."
The couple was married in 1960 and made their home at grazing property, Illawambra, Cullerin. They had four children - Stephen, Guy, Les and Marjorie, the latter dying at birth.
Mrs Hannan involved herself in the Breadalbane Public School P&C, the Breadalbane Pony Club, Goulburn and District Historical Society, the committee of National Trust property Riversdale, the Goulburn Rose Society and the Goulburn Garden Club, of which she was a life member.
She was very social and always up for a chat. Sue Morrison, whose children also attended Breadalbane School, recalled many happy times talking at the school gate with her good friend as the kids played.
"She was just Sue; she was a very genuine person," Mrs Morrison said.
Growing up, Guy said his mother created a warm home environment.
"She was a great mother, a great cook and so creative," he said.
"She did leatherwork classes, sewed clothes and did all the flowers for our weddings."
Mrs Hannan made the difficult decision to move to Goulburn more than 10 years ago. In 2015 she and the family lost their 47-year-old son and brother, Les, to liver and bowel cancer.
Though devastated by his death, it did not deter her work for the palliative care and oncology support group. As recently as December Mrs Hannan contacted The Post about a $500 donation to the cause.
Guy said his mother accepted earlier this year that she didn't have long to live.
"She was a fantastic person," he said.
"She had a group of very close friends who looked after her and she stuck her neck out for them."
Mrs Hannan died peacefully at Goulburn Base Hospital. Son Stephen was by her side.
She is also survived by her sons' spouses and five grandchildren.
Her funeral service will be held at Sts Peter and Paul's Old Cathedral at 10.30am Friday, March 26. A private cremation will follow.