SHE'S 'only' been working at Royal Bournemouth Hospital for 44 years - but, at the grand age of nearly 80, Fran Payne shows no sign of retiring yet.

No wonder, then, that she's scooped the Lifetime Service Award at the national Unsung Hero Awards 2018.

Fran was nominated not only for her long service, but her dedication to the Trust and its patients which sees her working a 40 hour week, split between the Endoscopy and Health Records departments.

She began her career with the Trust in what was the Bed Bureau, a service that processed admissions from doctors’ surgeries. She then moved to the Day Surgery Unit before stepping into Medical Records where she still works in the evenings, processing obituaries. Fran also works in the Endoscopy Department, processing bowel cancer screening paperwork.

She said she has seen many changes in her time at RBH and cites being presented her 25 years’ service award as one of her career highlights.

Of her national accolade, she said: “It was absolutely amazing to be nominated for the lifetime service award but to win it, well I’m still pinching myself!

"I work with such an inspiring team – both in Endoscopy, Health Records and the wider Trust. I’m so proud to work at this hospital and love working here – it’s the people I work with who make it such a joy. I’m so delighted to hold this award."

She also thanked her colleague Marilyn Lake for nominating her.

“I’ve worked with Fran for the last four years and couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award," said Marilyn. "Fran works so hard – 40 hours each week – and she’s not just a yes person, she says yes before the question is even asked! I’m so happy Fran won and I’m not alone, everyone in the Trust knows her and is beyond proud of her.”

Sharon Murawski, Fran’s manager in Health Records, says: “Fran is the most dedicated and hard working person I’ve ever met in my time working in the NHS since 1972. She’s totally devoted to patient care – that’s all that matters to her – and there’s no one more deserving of this award.”

Polly Hobbs, a clinical claims officer for the Trust, and Dorothy Rochester, a dementia volunteer, were also shortlisted for awards and attended the ceremony alongside 350 others last Friday. The Unsung Hero Awards are for non-clinical NHS staff and healthcare volunteers and this year saw over 1,100 people nominated for the 19 award categories.