A brave care worker who battled on when her husband had cancer should be cloned to enable more people to benefit from her professionalism, according to one of the people under her care.

For over 20 years Rita Martin, from Caldicot, has been respected by colleagues and service users, and now she has been shortlisted for a major award.

The Wales Care Awards are organised each year by Care Forum Wales to acknowledge exceptional work in the care sector, and this year’s ceremony will be held at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 18. The compere will be tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ad.

Rita, who is a support worker with Q-Care Limited, has been nominated in the category for Community Living Care Practitioners by branch manager Kate Weston.

Rita, who has three children and five grandchildren, works in the Chepstow and Caldicot area, where she has nine regular “clients” and several others she visits occasionally.

According to Kate she provides exceptional care, showing empathy and patience with each and every one and often going out of her way to care and support them.

“As part of her role she ensures that all personal care is carried out to a very high standard, prompting medication, shopping and making domestic calls,” she said.

Rita has maintained her standards during what has been a difficult time for her, as her husband Gerard has suffered from cancer.

“Even when this was going on Rita still attended work, making a difference to people’s lives, and this selfless act is one of the reasons why we think Rita should be nominated for the award,” said Kate.

Q-Care co-ordinator Scott Delap, who described Rita as “a credit to the care industry and a wonderful person to know”, said that over the years they had received numerous compliments about her work.

“In an industry that is notorious for its high turnover of staff 20 years is an outstanding achievement and only serves as a testament to her dedication and commitment,” he said.

In support of her nomination one service user told how Rita had given her confidence through her professional, friendly manner, patience and sense of humour.

“Words can never fully explain what a vast difference she has made to my life,” she said.

“I wish I could clone Rita so that other people could experience her consistent, first-class professional and genuine care. To me Rita symbolises the word Carer,” she added.

Now 62, Rita, who enjoys reading and spending time with her family in her spare time, has no plans to retire because she enjoys her work so much.

“There is so much job satisfaction in it,” she commented.

She and Gerard are planning to go on holiday to Tunisia in October but have changed the date so she can attend the awards ceremony on the 18th.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales

“The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.

“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded.

“It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”