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Big-hearted Dewi wins award after smiling through the pain

Pendine Park awards; Dewi Williams with Chloe Edwards, Kelly Ffoulkes and Patsy Swift. Picture Mandy Jones

Team leader Dewi Williams has won an award for going “the extra mile” despite suffering hard times and losing his beloved mum..

According to colleagues at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham, Dewi has a life-enhancing personality that can light up a room.

As a result, he has been voted the winner of Pendine’s Smile of the Year competition. 

Workmates say Dewi’s cheerful expression and upbeat persona belie the difficulties  he has endured including the devastating death of his mother in 2019.

His late mum, Jayne Williams, required full time care through years of suffering cystic fibrosis plus diabetes, and then she succumbed to sepsis which resulted in her having both legs amputated. 

Dewi, 33, is also diabetic, but despite the emotionally turbulent times he and his family have been through he is determined to maintain a positive outlook on life.

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He said: “I always try to think of the positive side of any situation. It’s the only way to go forward. Even in bad times like with mum’s illnesses, I try to focus on happy memories we had together, days which were filled with laughter and good conversation, rather than sadness.”

Dewi won the overall winner of the smile award after 15 staff members were voted for as ‘top smilers’ across the Pendine Park group.

Dewi grew up in Cefn Mawr and attended Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen  before studying journalism, broadcast media and communications at Glyndwr University, Wrexham. 

But he changed career direction and is now a team leader in the personnel department based at Pendine Park’s admin and training headquarters at Bromfield House, Wrexham Technology Park.

He said: “I feel so lucky. I’ve really found my niche here. I’m not on the front line working day to day with residents but I still feel I’m helping contribute to their welfare. In my personnel role I know if I can help keep our staff happy then they’ll be in a stronger position to care for our residents.” 

“Having been through difficult challenges myself I know how tough working in the care sector can be so if I can lift the mood with a few smiles and words of praise I’m all for it. It makes for a healthier working environment all round.”

Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “The Smile Awards recognise the people nominated by staff, residents and their families and other visitors to our homes and offices.

“We aim to reward those people who in good times and bad don’t lose sight of the importance of smiling and laughing and who inspire others through their warmth and their kindness. Dewi epitomises this, especially given all he has been through. He is a truly deserving winner.”

Dewi’s colleague and fellow team leader, Kelly Ffoulkes, said: “I’m not at all surprised Dewi won this year’s Pendine Park Smile of the Year award. He has a sunny disposition, so encouraging for colleagues. He’s a pleasure to work alongside.”

While congratulating Dewi, Kelly, 27, who joined Pendine Park, also had her own reason to smile after being voted joint winner of the organisation’s Learner of the Year award.

She said: “My work here is so rewarding. There is a real sense of job satisfaction and contributing to the wider community. In addition, I have lots of opportunities to train, obtain NVQ qualifications and move forward in my career.

It has been a good year for Kelly who has also just celebrated getting engaged to boyfriend Billy Ledsham. 

Kelly’s co-winner of the Learner of the Year is Chloe Edwards, a senior care practitioner in Pendine’s Hillbury care home.

Chloe, 25, followed her grandmother’s footsteps into Hillbury  and a care sector career, starting as a care practitioner, before becoming a clinical partner and now she is in a senior care role.

Her nan, Ann Edwards, was the home’s deputy manager before retiring a few years ago.

Chloe said: “Thanks to Pendine Park’s training scheme I’ve achieved level 2 and 3 NVQ qualifications in care and now I’m working towards levels 4 and 5.

“I’d love to progress into management like Nan did. She’s really pleased for me and so happy she helped me find a role that suits me.”

Chloe’s parents Emma and Gareth Edwards are also thrilled, as is her fiancé George Bailey with whom she lives in Acton.

Chloe said: “I’d no idea I’d won until I came in and my bosses told me. I was super surprised and delighted. It’s a real feather in my cap.”

Hillbury deputy manager, Patsy Swift, is also a winner, scooping the Pendine Kinda Person award which is a tribute to the way she goes the extra mile for residents and fellow staff.

Patsy, 36, is also know for her 100 percent enthusiasm for any fundraising activities organised to support local charities.

Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton said: “We have a motto that encourages all our staff members to be a Pendine kind of person – kind, positive and passionate about their jobs. Patsy is definitely that, she puts all her energy into every task and goes above and beyond for the well being of all our residents. We’re all delighted she has won.”

Another delighted award winner is Kate Prydderch, a carer at Highfield residential home at Pendine Park’s Summerhill site.

Kate was presented with the group’s annual Semmelweiss award, named in memory of celebrated physician Ignaz Semmelweis who is credited with discovering the importance of regular hand washing to prevent the spread of germs.

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