Memory of special carer at Heacham business honoured at inaugural awards ceremony

Nina Stephen, left, winner of the Gill Chase Award, with her trophy and shortlisted finalists from Extra Hands. ANL-151222-102435001
Nina Stephen, left, winner of the Gill Chase Award, with her trophy and shortlisted finalists from Extra Hands. ANL-151222-102435001

The memory of a special carer who worked for Heacham-based Extra Hands has been honoured through an inaugural awards scheme.

The first Gill Chase Awards were staged last month at Fakenham Racecourse and were named after one of the first carers to join the Extra Hands team.

Gill, from Brancaster, died suddenly in November 2014, having suffered a pulmonary embolism. She was 68.

Said Tyrnaia McGinn, of Extra Hands, said: “Gill was a home care assistant for 20 years and was an exceptional carer, always putting her service users and others before herself. She died while she was still in employment so never retired.

“We felt her commitment and loyalty should not go unrecognised, so decided to keep her memory alive by organising an annual award.”

Members of Gill’s family were asked to take part in the judging and went along to the awards ceremony held in the Prince of Wales stand. Her son, Scott, gave a speech, along with Extra Hands director, Hazel Evans.

Eight employees were shortlisted as finalists, four from each of Extra Hands’s offices in Heacham and Horsham St Faith.

The winner was Nina Stephen, from Briston, a rapid response carer who works from the Heacham office, and runner-up was Ian Meredith, from Horsham St Faith.

Extra Hands is celebrating news that it has been shortlisted in the Team category of the third Norfolk Care Awards. Last year it won the promoting dignity and respect category. The awards take place on February 25 at Sprowston Manor.