Cot presented to children’s ward

Fin Heads (right)  presents Southern District Health Board chief executive  Chris Fleming with an...
Fin Heads (right) presents Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming with an electronic cot for the children’s ward at Dunedin Hospital. Photo: Gregor Richardson
"They would have been over the moon," retired Dunedin man Fin Heads said after officially presenting the children’s ward at Dunedin hospital with an electronic cot in memory of his late wife and son.

Shirley Heads (64) was only weeks away from retirement in April 2008 when she was killed in a lunchtime accident near the hospital, where she had worked for 20 years.

Then, just over nine years later, Mr and Mrs Heads’ son Peter died in a workplace accident in Australia at the age of 53.

Earlier this year, Mr Heads (77),  a plumber at Dunedin Hospital for 35 years, decided to give $10,000 to the hospital in memory of his wife and son.

All he asked was that the money be spent on "something for the children" and that he be allowed to make a formal presentation of his gift on the 10th anniversary of his wife’s death. But an electronic cot bought with the money was late arriving, so the April 28 hand-over could not go ahead as planned.

It was a different story yesterday when the $8000 super-cot and two  iPads were officially presented.

During a brief but moving ceremony in a room in the children’s ward, Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming acknowledged Mr Heads’ generosity, apologised for the delay and described the gift which would benefit young Otago children — "our future leaders" — as "a lovely way" for Mr Heads’ wife and son to be remembered.

Sounding slightly emotional, Mr Heads told Mr Fleming, hospital staff and several of his family, he was  pleased with the cot and the iPads.

Two small plaques commemorating his wife and son are affixed to the end of the cot.

Hospital staff were "thrilled" with the cot. With its ease of operation, cheerful teddy bear images on clear panels at the head and foot and a "nicer" mattress, it was much better for the children and much easier for staff to operate, charge nurse Shirley Bell said.

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