IT WAS all smiles and celebration as the winners of the Daily Echo Proud To Care Awards 2019 were announced.

The awards ceremony, hosted at the Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth on Thursday November 14, is an opportunity to recognise the hard work and commitment by these unsung heroes, and a chance to celebrate with friends, family and colleagues.

The award winners were voted on by a three person judges panel consisting of Associate Editor and Community Ambassador for the Daily Echo Andy Martin, BCP Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health and Mayor of Christchurch Lesley Dedman and Chief Executive of Poole Council for voluntary services Karen Loftus.

Lesley, who has many years of experience in the sector as a former care homeowner and a carer, said: “The Proud to Care Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the incredible work, dedication and commitment by all those in the care sector.

“Much of this is unsung and this our chance to say thank you.”

Karen Loftus added: “The amazing work of our care and support workers, unpaid carers and wonderful volunteers is often unsung. This is a great opportunity to value them and acknowledge all their hard work.”

The finalists were treated to a drinks reception and three-course lunch before the awards were handed out by Marketing Solution Account Managers at the Daily Echo Angela Boyer alongside Andy Martin.

Thirteen awards were handed out to care providers, care workers and volunteers who had shone in their respective roles over the past year.

Angela said: “Now in their third year, The Daily Echo Proud to Care Awards are an amazing opportunity for our readers to tell us about all those locally that are doing a fantastic job in care, both paid and unpaid.

“The judges were very moved by the stories they read in the hundreds of nominations received and found it very difficult to choose who to shortlist and the final winners.

“Meeting a small number of those nominated at the Awards was truly heart-warming, and I would like to thank BCP Council and all our category sponsors who support us in holding these awards each year.”

The winners were invited to receive their trophies from the generous sponsors who supported the event.

Branksome Heights were awarded Care Home of the Year, with Home Manager Lynne Petty and Administrator Linda Lilly collecting the award. Vera Almeida, Clinical Lead at Bourne View, was given Care Home worker of the Year.

Senior Care Giver Sharon Young and Care Coordinator Stacey Bridle collected the award for Home Care Provider for the Year for Right At Home, whilst Jason Gould, Field Care Supervisor at Care Dynamics, was named Home Care worker of the Year.

Husband and wife team Jackie and Martin Hedge from Shared Lives collect the award for Learning disability Care worker of the year, and Aranlaw House, run by Luxurycare, received the Excellence in dementia Care award.

Community Specialist Palliative Care Nurse at Forest Holme Hospice Hazel Mack was awarded was given the Palliative Care Worker of the year, and the Family and Friend Carer of the Year award was presented to Jane and Richard Negus.

Befrienders, a volunteer group that work in association wit Wessex Cancer Trust, were recognised for their hard work in the Community and Voluntary Group category.

David Dawson, who has volunteering for Forest Holme Hospice after losing his wife to cancer nearly five years ago, was given the Volunteer of the Year award and Grace Barlow, carer at Apex Prime Care, collected the award for New Care Worker of the Year.

Director of Care at Julia’s House and one of the two original Julia’s House nurses Ali Acaster was recognised for her 16 years of commitment with the Long Service Award, and the Award for innovation in Care Practice went to Redcroft, a residential home in Southbourne run by Apple House Ltd.

The runners-up for each category received framed certificates to commend their amazing work. See Thursday’s Daily Echo for the winners’ supplement.