It's the end of an era for one of the Mid-North Coast's most vital volunteer services, as Hastings Driver Reviver Centre turns off the coffee pots one last time.
The coffee, tea and biscuit break on Pacific Highway near Port Macquarie which has been staffed by volunteers for the past 30 years, is set to close its doors after the Easter holidays.
Once providing a safe stop for around 45,000 travelling and local drivers a year, the centre will be open between 7am and 5pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the next two weekends only.
Hastings Driver Reviver coordinator Robert Toms, who has served at the centre for 15 years said it was a sad time for volunteers but largely inevitable.
"It was a very good facility but unfortunately we didn't have much option (but to close)," he said.
"The volunteers are the ones hurting the most, they used to play Scrabble and cards next to the fire.
"It was something to do, we don't always meet one another each year but we all volunteered at driver reviver."
The centre has been recording slowly declining numbers with 15,500 people served in 2015, 15,467 in 2016, 6,564 in 2017 and only 3,075 last year.
Mr Toms said visitor numbers had fallen for a number of reasons.
"The numbers are smaller each year, it's gradually dying a slow death," he said.
"The construction of the highway was not a godsend for us, the speed went from 80 to 110 and we couldn't use signs on the road.
"The area was not enough width to get off the road safely, there was nowhere to turn."
A number of other services had opened near Port Macquarie off ramp, another driver reviver station started up in Kew and a lack of access from drivers were all suggested to have impacted visitors.
The centre is due to be removed from the Fernbank Depot during a redevelopment by Roads and Maritime Services, as RMS office staff are relocated from Central Road to the join field staff at the site.
"To be able to continue our operations we would need to find another site and finance a serving vehicle," said Mr Toms.
"As we are now not allowed to accept donations this would be rather difficult to finance.
"Considering the low numbers, we feel that it best we discontinue the Hastings SES Community Driver Reviver operation.
"We will not be servicing the travelling public after Sunday, April 28."
The centre was originally opened by Hastings SES in 1989 at the Billabong Nature Park, it contained an old van, portaloo and tent.
It later moved to its present site at Fernbank Creek Road in Christmas 1990, serving 10,000 people.
Volunteers for the day and night time shifts included members of the Country Women's Association, Rotary and the Lions Club.
New toilets, television room, stock room and covered area was added before being officially opened by Rob Oakeshott in October 2002.
Acting Roads and Maritime Services Director Northern Region Vicky Sisson said growth in nearby facilities has led to a decrease in demand for this service.
"I would like to thank all the volunteers for their wonderful contribution to the cause of road safety on behalf of Roads and Maritime, and I'm sure I speak on behalf of the entire community in expressing my gratitude," she said.
"More than 400 volunteers have taken part in the Hastings Driver Reviver program over the years and while this Easter will be the last hurrah, those gathered will be proud to be part of such a vital program.
"Getting drivers to take a break during a long drive helps combat fatigue and reduces the incidences of crashes and fatalities along this busy highway."
All volunteers, past and present and sponsors are thanked for their service, as well as leadership including Neville Russell, Gordon Toms, Charlie Charters, John Pettit and Leon Griffiths.
Special thanks go to Dorothy Sargeant, who organised the centres rosters for 15 years until she passed away in 2005.
Major sponsors included SES, RMS, Nestle for ten years, Bushells Tea and Coffee, Arnotts, CSR Sugar and Norco - supplies were organised by Allan and Rhonda McCormac through Toll.
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