Photo: Winton MPHS nursing staff Kylie Ludwick – left – and Rebecca Moore, with Paul Neilsen and the donated smart TV and sound bar on the wall behind them.

A generous bequest on behalf of a local family has been bringing joy and comfort to patients

and their families at Winton Multipurpose Health Service.

When Winton resident Sonya Neilsen died in 2015 after a long battle with breast cancer, her

family – husband Paul, proprietor of the Tattersalls Hotel, and their two sons – asked that those

attending the funeral should provide a donation towards cancer services instead of flowers.

These donations were supplemented subsequently by a charity function hosted by players’

wives and partners of the Townsville West Rugby Union Club.

Mr Neilsen then rounded off the combined funds raised to $2000 and offered the total to the

Winton MPHS in memory of his wife.

“We asked Mr Neilsen if there was something in particular that he would like us to purchase on

behalf of his wife but he said he was happy for us to do whatever was thought best,’’ Winton

MPHS Acting Director of Nursing Bill Hackett said.

“As it happens, as part of the palliative care we provide for patients at Winton, we encourage

families to bring their loved ones’ favourite music and photos in to help create an environment

where the patient is surrounded by memories of love and laughter.

“We were also aware that the previous TV we had in the palliative care room was not the best

quality and difficult for some patients to see.

“So it became obvious that the best use of the donated funds we received was to upgrade the

sound and vision technology in the room.

“As a result, the hospital purchased a 40-inch, state of the art smart TV with a sound bar for

surround sound and a DVD player.

“This has allowed patients more easily to watch the images on the large screen and hear the

good quality sound of their favourite music or movies.

“But the new system goes even further.

“Thanks to the smart TV, family members who do not live in Winton can video call their loved

ones in hospital.

“When visiting, they can also use their smart phones to stream photo and home videos to the

TV for viewing on the large screen by their loved ones.


“In addition, because of its large size and small kitchenette, the room where the TV and sound

system is installed also is used by mums with sick babies who have been admitted to the


“Those mums can use the smart TV to call their own mothers outside Winton for support whilst

they are hospital with their sick child.

“It’s all been such a great success, entirely thanks to the generosity of the Neilsen family and

the Townsville Teachers West Rugby Union players.

“We really now have the best technology in place for patient viewing and listening pleasure, as

well as high-tech options for connecting families during their times of need.

“It’s a fitting memorial for Mrs Neilsen.’’


For further information contact:

James Guthrie

Principal Media Officer, Rural and Remote Qld

Media and Communication

Department of Health

(07) 3708 5379