A former office cleaner who went above and beyond the call of duty to help a seriously ill man is flying high after picking up a top award.

Mark Dunn, 46, who works at Everycare in the Splott area of Cardiff won a bronze awrard at the prestigious Wales Care Awards in Cardiff.

He was honoured in the category Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care Award which was sponsored by the SilverCrest Care Group.

“He has shown great compassion and professionalism,” said manager Toby Stockton. “Mark has led excellent practice with his colleagues including communicating difficult messages from health teams.”

He worked to an “exceptionally high standard” and had attracted compliments from social workers, too. It’s that high calibre of caring for some of the most vulnerable members of society which led to him being nominated for a Wales Care Award.

Mark, married and who has five children, thanks his sister for a career switch almost 20 years ago. He’d done a number of jobs previously including office cleaning.

It was during a period between jobs when his sister, now a district nurse, suggested that he tried the social care sector. “I’ve got a lot to thank my sister for, I have never looked back,” Mark, of Amroth Road, Ely, in Cardiff, said. “I love meeting people and new service users, it’s never one and the same, they have different challenges.”

For one of his supported clients he arranged a flight in a four-seater light aircraft above South Wales. But the service user’s bucket list also included a helicopter flight. “I am scared of heights and looking after a gentleman who had never been on a plane,” Mark said. “We had so much fun and because I was taking photographs I didn’t really realise how high we were.

“I conquered my fears thanks to my service user.”

Such is his compassionate nature and commitment to providing the highest standards of support, Mark even arranged for the man to join him and his family for Christmas dinner so he wasn’t alone.

Nominating him for an award, Toby Stockton said: “This shows Mark is not only professional but also deeply caring.”

Mark works with adults of various ages in need of support.

Outside work, Mark is involved with Ford Fanatics, a group of car enthusiasts.

He said: “I was over the moon and dumbstruck to be nominated for an award. I never thought I would be recognised.

“I love my job making sure every one of our service users has a better life.”

He joined other outstanding carers from across Wales for a night in the limelight to celebrate and pay tribute to their work.

The  Wales Care Awards, run by Care Forum Wales, were held for the 15th year and continue to go from strength to strength, illustrating best practice in a variety of roles across the care sector. They are an important part of raising the profile of care workers and demonstrating to the wider public the vital and often outstanding work they do in looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society.

The MC for the evening was opera singer Wynne Evans, aka Gio Compario from the televisions adverts for Go Compare.

The main sponsors of the event were Ontex Healthcare and Barchester Jobs.

Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He added: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“We take our hats off to them.”