DROMARA Doctors' Surgery patients are being given the chance to show their gratitude for one woman's 31 years of service to the community.

The Patients' Committee is planning a presentation to former senior surgery receptionist Mrs. Teresa O'Hare, who at the end of July this year called it a day after three decades of helping locals access healthcare.

Committee chairman, the Rev. Jim Mattison, said it planned to make its presentation as a mark of patients' appreciation for Mrs. O'Hare's service since arriving at the surgery in January 1979.

He appealed, "Should you, as a patient, wish to contribute to that, please leave your donation in the surgery on or before Friday, 30 November."

Earlier this year The Leader reported the impending retirement of Mrs. O'Hare, whom colleagues described as "irreplaceable"; She was, they said, an inspiration, and they credited her with 'training' doctors and other staff alike.

Teresa had worked in what was then Tom Murphy's chemist since 1970 when she moved on to the surgery in 1979, joining the team of Dr. McBride, Dr. Helen Kirkpatrick, Dr. Smith and Dr. Hicks.

Practice manager Teresa Mackle said at the time of her retirement announcement, "Teresa has not only organised the prescriptions, the GP access, the sick notes and completion of the forms and reports, given the appropriate advice, the congratulations on the births and the condolences to the bereaved, but she has been a listening ear to all, to the patients and their families, for over three decades."

Mrs. O'Hare herself said she was surrounded by family and so would have no trouble filling her time during retirement.

Having witnessed many changes over the years, computerisation being the most significant, Teresa insisted she has enjoyed each and every one of her 30 years at the surgery.

"I have enjoyed it all very much," she said. "The doctors have all been very good. I will miss the staff that I've worked with down the years and certainly the patients; they have been great."