A carer who shed six stones over 18 months is feeling like she is on cloud nine after scooping a top honour at the annual Wales health care ‘Oscars’.

Helen Bevan, a team leader at Llys y Seren residential home, Port Talbot, achieved a coveted silver accolade at the Wales Care Awards presented at Cardiff City Hall.

Mario Kreft, Chair of Care Forum Wales, which runs the awards annually, said Helen was just one of the deserving winners who the judges took their hats off to for their unrelenting commitment to helping others.

The awards were presented during a glittering ceremony and dinner to which all the nominees and their guests were invited. It was hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads

Helen was successful in the Excellence in Dementia Care category, sponsored by All Care South Wales and College Fields Nursing Home.

Mum of two, Helen, 46, of Sandfields, Port Talbot, was not aware until the night itself that she was to receive a prestigious silver distinction.

She said the news that she had even been nominated was a complete surprise to her, adding: “There’s no stopping me now! I’m up for all sorts of sports and fun activities.”

She says she is full of boundless energy after losing so much weight over the last year and uses her extra verve to lead activities like cycling and swimming with the dementia patients she cares for.

Her silver accolade delighted friends and colleagues including Llys y Seren manager Karen Rogers who said Helen is a role model for her peers and a highly deserving winner.

She said: “Helen has helped guide staff to better understand dementia and the practical ways of dealing with residents with challenging behaviour. There has been a remarkable effect on the staff and increased positivity working on the suites with residents who have dementia, all thanks to Helen and her commitment.”

Helen has worked in the care sector since she was 16. She believes dementia covers a massive umbrella of difficulties and that individuals are affected in so many varied ways that it is impossible to come up with a one policy suits all approach. She is an avid believer in tailoring care to each individual.

Helen learned that one of her residents used to love cycling so she organised for her to go on a bicycle ride to the beach.

She said: “We got hold of a three wheeled bike for her and I went along too on another bike. Having lost so much weight it was a lot easier for me to pedal!”

She also organised a swimming session focused around another resident with a passion for swimming.

Helen has also recently taken up running which she says gives her even more energy to go the extra mile to improve the lives of patients in her care.

She said: “I love my job, it’s so rewarding.”

Helen who has a son Thomas, 26, and daughter Katie, 21, said her parents, Catherine and John supported her career: “Without them stepping in to babysit when the kids were younger, I wouldn’t have been able to progress as far as I have.”

Chair of Care Forum Wales, Mario Kreft, said Helen was an example of the many wonderful people in the care sector who deserve recognition. He said the Wales Care Awards are considered the health care Oscars as they honour men and women delivering the highest standards of professionalism in their field.

He told the ceremony the standard of entries in 2019 was extremely high, adding: “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.”