FOR nearly 50 years, June Graham has dedicated her time to the Royal Newcastle Hospital Graduate Nurses Association.
She has held the positions of president, secretary and treasurer over the years.
For her commitment to Newcastle nurses, Mrs Graham received a Distinguished Service Award from the association in August, retiring as president that same month.
More than 90 ex-Royal Newcastle employees were at the nurses association's annual luncheon to help pay tribute to Mrs Graham, where she was presented with the award.
As a Royal Hospital nursing graduate in 1963, the association and its members helped Mrs Graham forge her career and establish life-long friendships - as the association had done for many graduates.
Mrs Graham has been heavily involved in the association through a series fund-raising events and helped produce a historical DVD and several history books on the Royal Hospital, including Sisters of the Valley.
When the hospital closed in 2006 the association's membership was 90; it now has 250 members.
The membership grew when the classification for membership was extended from strictly nurses to broader associates of the hospital, including doctors and administration staff.
The additional annual membership fees were used to fund an annual nursing scholarship for a third-year nursing student at Newcastle university.
Six $1500 scholarships have been awarded since the fund was set up.