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Thorp House Care Home’s Marcia Hughes wins national Care Home Heroes Award

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Thorp House Care Home’s Marcia Hughes has been presented with a prestigious Care Home Heroes Award by television celebrity Davina McCall.

Mrs Hughes, the activities lead at Thorp House, in Griston, near Watton, was selected as one of two runners-up out of nearly 430 applications nationwide.

The awards, sponsored by Caring Times and care products company Ontex, were staged on Friday, June 30 at the Care Managers Show, in the NEC, Birmingham.

Thorp House administrator Charlotte Sandcraft entered Mrs Hughes for the awards, describing her in her submission to judges as “an amazing activities co-ordinator like no other”.

She wrote: “Marcia has a drive and enthusiasm that is positive and infectious; her ability to encourage and motivate even the most difficult resident is a credit to her and, for this reason, residents, their families and her work colleagues respond warmly towards her with support and respect.”

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Thanks to her passion for the job, Thorp House was at the heart of the community, respected and regularly visited by local dignitaries, such as the Mayor, councillors and local MP.

The submission described how Mrs Hughes has given a new zest for life to residents, making it a Christmas to remember for one lonely war veteran by organising a community appeal that led to him receiving 18,400 cards and gifts from well-wishers.

Another resident had been supported in his determination to help Ukrainian refugees through two fund-raising challenges that raised £750.

Mrs Hughes, who has recently been promoted to a community liaison role across a number of Kingsley Healthcare homes said: “It was an honour to receive the award although I felt a bit of a fraud accepting it just for myself as we are a team at Thorp.”

Responding to a judge’s question about how she makes activities person-centred, she described the success of Thorp House’s “Wishing Tree” on which residents could pin suggestions for activities.

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It had enabled one resident with a life-long passion for horses to visit a stable and stroke the horses; another who was a keen artist was supported to stage his first art exhibition in his 80s.

Mrs Hughes said: “It is all about adapting the activity for the person we have now. I am struggling with a wing walk for a 90-year-old at the moment. That’s a bit of a challenge if anyone can help me!”

She said the achievement of which she was most proud was the community appeal for Christmas cards for 101-year-old D-Day veteran John Lister who had lost his wife of over 70 years during the Covid pandemic.

She said: “I wanted him to feel that although he was alone we could collectively come together to support him. The story was picked up by the BBC and ITV and he received over 18,400 cards and gifts from around the world.

“He was so touched and his smile again was priceless; before he passed away he said he felt so loved.”

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