A silver accolade has gone to the oldest care home manager in Wales.
The prestigious honour was presented to Bronwen Morris, of Llangollen at the annual Wales Care Awards, at a glittering dinner and ceremony in City Hall, Cardiff.
Bronwen, 77, runs The Old Vicarage care home in Llangollen and was nominated by its deputy manager, her son, David Morris.
She was thrilled to receive a silver, though she said she had ‘butterflies in my stomach’ all the while the awards were being announced by BBC Wales TV news presenter Lucy Owen.
Bronwen said: “I was very nervous, and really thought I might not get anything as there were so many other deserving people all around me. Some of them have done such good work, I was sure I wouldn’t get anything like a silver.”
But the judges thought different, having been impressed by Bronwen quarter of a century’s unstinting service to her local community.
She took over The Old Vicarage 25 years ago with her husband of 54 years, retired accountant Brian, and they were determined to ensure their residents felt as much at home as possible.
Having had no formal experience in the care sector, they trained for 18 months before opening The Old Vicarage and continue to keep themselves updated with training and care home procedures. Just six years ago Bronwen studied for two years for a new management qualification when she was aged 71.
She remains the registered care provider and proprietor of The Old Vicarage, though her son now shares the day to day workload.
He said: “Mum is still a very hard worker and as determined as ever to make sure all our residents’ needs are met and that they are happy, even though she is nearly as old as some of them herself now.”
Bronwen believes her age is an advantage as it gives her more understanding of residents’ needs. She plays a key role in organising social activities for them and taking those who are able out to local events including Llangollen WI and the Wednesday Club. She is also a volunteer with the Parkinson’s Society and the Alzheimers Society.
The Wales Care Awards are run in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
Bronwen was presented with her silver in the Outstanding Service Award category, sponsored by Hallmark.
She modestly said she felt honoured to have been nominated and was delighted to receive a silver, but didn’t feel she had done anything extraordinary, except care for people in the best way that she could. Her priorities for all her residents, she said, were to ensure they are well, feel at home, comfortable, and among good friends.
Mario Kreft, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “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.”