A hugely respected nurse has done her son proud after scooping a prestigious care sector accolade.
Senior nurse Julie Beresford, of Wrexham, was presented with a bronze honour the prestigious Wales Care Awards – dubbed the Oscars of social care.
She declared it was as much a tribute to her loving son, Josh, as it is to her.
Julie is hailed as a great role model by fellow staff at the Pendine Park care organisation Wrexham where she works at their Bodlondeb care home.
She was nominated for Independent Sector Nurse of the Year by Bodlondeb manager Ann Chapman who praised Julie’s unfaltering work ethic and dedication to training newcomers.
Julie spoke emotionally of her deep gratitude to Josh, now 38, who has supported her throughout her career.
She told how he has been with her ‘every step of the way’ of her demanding job: “He has helped me so much over the years that any recognition I receive is as much his as it is mine. There were times when he was in his teens when I might be late home and he would have to get his own tea, or do housework but he never complained. He always got behind me whatever I was doing.”
Still at the top of her profession, Julie, 70, was delighted to make it to the final shortlist out of dozens of contenders at the awards which are dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of social care.
She has been at Bodlondeb 11 years but worked with Pendine Park earlier in her career before taking a break to train as a teacher and study child psychology, social psychology and mental health care.
Ann said Julie was the go-to staff member called on to train a number of nurses from overseas recently recruited by Pendine Park.
She added that Julie is hugely respected by fellow nursing staff and Bodlondeb care practitioners who know they can always approach her for advice.
Julie divorced when Josh was eight and worked hard to fit her nursing hours and subsequent college studies around his education and their home life.
She said: “It was hard at times but somehow we managed. We supported each other no matter what and have a really close bond.”
She has done her son proud by achieving such a highly coveted award.
Supported by lead sponsor Ontex UK, the annual Wales Care Awards are organised by care industry champions Care Forum Wales, to recognise and celebrate exceptional work.
The winners of gold, silver and bronze were announced at a ceremony which all those shortlisted were invited to attend and the event was streamed live online.
The host for the evening was popular tenor, Wynne Evans, aka Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV advertisements.
Julie was thrilled to be presented with her bronze award after years of dedicated service.
She said: “I love my job. Working at Bodlondeb is so rewarding. As long as I’m fit and still contributing to the team, I’ll keep going as long as I can.”
Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the ceremony was all the more poignant because of the Covid pandemic and what front line staff had endured.
He said: “I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to all the wonderful people who work in social care after they rose magnificently and courageously to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.
“We have always recognised their true value and hopefully now the rest of Wales is also aware of how lucky we are as a nation to have them providing care and safeguarding our most vulnerable people.
“Our finalists are the best of the best and are here representing the whole social care workforce who all deserve a big pat on the back.
“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.
“In the words of the powerful song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, let the Diolch last forever.
“We take our hats off to them.”