Former politician John Brogden, the guest speaker, drew on his experience as chairman of Lifeline to praise the contribution volunteers make across all areas of the community.
He told how his dad, now 86, had had 20 rewarding years as a volunteer after leaving the paid workforce.
Mr Brodgen said volunteering helped reduce the burden of loneliness, not only for those helped by volunteers, but often by the volunteers themselves.
The hospital’s longest serving volunteer Graham Whittaker and the newest recruit to the volunteer ranks, Sharon Frazer, explained why they give up their time to help others.
Graham, who began as a volunteer way back in 1966, said he had always been interested in people and volunteering was a way to serve without monetary reward.
"You are giving without thought of receiving anything in return," Graham said.
"I believe there is a real need in our communities to reach out to people and especially those who are lonely to show them that somebody cares about them in a hurting world."
Sharon told how she was given small odds of survival when she started treatment for leukaemia at RNSH.
From this experience I have great empathy with what patients go through while in hospital facing a life-threatening situation," she said.
"When I reflect on my own time as a patient, maintaining one’s sanity and perspective in an environment that is by definition very sterile and clinical … comes down to personal interactions with others.
"A smile is free and can really make a difference.
"Happiness is infectious - and is probably the only infection anyone ever wants in a hospital."
See our next edition for more coverage of volunteer’s celebrations across the District, including Ryde’s awards day.