Sweet celebration for hospital's favourite visitor

DOUG Stevenson knows who wants marshmallows, who prefers a Snickers and where caramels will be most enjoyed.

The Evandale man has loaded his trolley with treats for Launceston General Hospital staff every Saturday for about 13 years.

The favour was repaid yesterday as Mr Stevenson was given gifts for his 80th birthday, which was celebrated on December 18.

The treats tradition started when Mr Stevenson's wife was hospitalised for seven months with motor neurone disease.

``We had a bowl of lollies there so as nurses came in they could take some away,'' he said.

When his wife died, Mr Stevenson decided to continue the trend, buying up to 30 varieties of lollies to dish out to staff in almost every ward.

The lollies stopped for about a year, as Mr Stevenson battled an illness.

He would ring the hospital each Saturday to let them know he wasn't able to make the trip.

``We look forward to him coming,'' food services supervisor Merilyn Blyth said.

``We used to joke he'd have to bring in a medical certificate.''

Known as Dougie to staff at the hospital and at the Kings Meadows' renal unit, Mr Stevenson usually takes a break with kitchen staff to enjoy a chocolate milkshake and a cake or two once finished.

``I'm the luckiest person in the world to have so many good friends,'' Mr Stevenson said.

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