An emotional tribute was paid at an awards ceremony to the dedicated and much-loved care worker Trudy Jones who was killed in a terrorist attack in Tunisia.
Members of Trudy’s family and colleagues were guests of honour at the annual Wales Care Awards, known as the social care “Oscars”.
Trudy, 51, from Blackwood, Caerphilly, who was an activities co-ordinator at the town’s Highfield Nursing Home, was one of 38 people killed when a gunman began firing at tourists on a beach in Sousse.
She had been on holiday when she fell victim to the terror attack in June this year.
Her grown-up children, sons Ryan Gardiner, 18, Wayne Davis, 28, Gavin Davis, 32 and daughter Dana Brichard, 26, attended the glittering ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff.
During the ceremony a special three-minute video was shown in which Trudy’s children spoke movingly about their mother.
They described Trudy, a mum-of-four and a grandma, as ‘the rainbow in everyone’s cloud”.
According to colleagues, she was a “lively and popular” member of staff who was devoted to the people in her care.
The 39 residents at the home, many of whom are elderly and infirm, were devastated by the news of Trudy’s death, a woman they described as an ‘absolute angel.’
“Mum was always willing to help others, she loved everyone around her, including all of the people she cared for at work and she was our hero,” said her heartbroken eldest son Gavin.
“It wasn’t a job to her. The people mum looked after were her extended family and she did all she could to make their lives better. Making other people happy made her happy.”
Trudy brought up her four children alone and raised them to be strong, according to Gavin who told how the tragedy had brought the siblings closer together.
“Before this happened we were all busy with families and work and rarely saw each other but this has brought us together, we’d be lost without each other now.
“Mum will be missed by so many people. She was the rock of our family and kept us all going. None of us have a clue how we’re going to cope without her.”
Shawkat Ilahi, manager at the Highfields Nursing Home told how Trudy always went beyond what was expected of her. “She always went that extra mile for staff, residents and their families and she has left us with some very good memories,” he said.
Trudy’s sister Jane Lewis, who worked alongside her at Highfields, told how Trudy made the residents smile by buying them brightly-coloured slippers with her own money. “They were bright green with frogs on the end and everyone loved them,” she said.
David Baynton, a relative of a resident at Highfields, said: “When Trudy was there the music would go on and my wife’s feet would go,” while another described Trudy’s enthusiasm as ‘infectious.’
First held in 2003, the Wales Care Awards are an annual fixture in the social care calendar. They reward the champions of the sector and raise public awareness of the vital contribution made by the social care workforce to the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “The aim of the Wales Care Awards is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales and no-one epitomises this more than Trudy Jones who was devoted to improving the quality of life of people in her care.
“The care sector is full of wonderful people like Trudy because to them it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation.
“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded. We felt it right and fitting to pay tribute to Trudy in this way by inviting her children as our honoured guests.
“Trudy was clearly loved by the people she carried for, their relatives, colleagues, and of course, her family.”