The outstanding work of care home staff was celebrated at a glitzy awards ceremony on Thursday at the Ivy House Country Hotel, in Lowestoft. Nearly 200 employees from across the country were joined by VIP guests, including Waveney MP Peter Aldous, for the annual Kingsley Healthcare Care Awards, hosted by BBC Look East presenter David Whiteley and former tennis star Annabel Croft. Kingsley CEO Daya Thayan welcomed staff from as far afield as Dorset and Manchester, telling them: “You are the backbone of our operation and it is your commitment and compassion that we celebrate here today.” Staff at Kirkley Manor nursing home, in Lowestoft, were jubilant after being announced as winners of the flagship Kingsley care home of the year award. Judges said the home’s large and loyal staff team had created a “wonderful homely atmosphere appreciated as much by the relatives as the residents”. Kirsty Holden, manager of Thorp House nursing home, in Griston near Watton, took the prized care home manager of the year title. Judges described her as “fun, full of life, committed, knowledgeable and caring” and said she saw residents as an extension of her own family. Ten members of head office staff, Debbie McGovern, Helen Gosling, James Guest, Jill Harris, Katherine Ardley, Lukasz Wawrzenczyk, Maria Sanford, Mariusz Ciepielewski, Sarah Ferguson and Wasantha Darshana, were honoured with 10-year long service awards by the Lowestoft based company. Other winners from Kingsley’s homes in East Anglia included activities co-ordinator of the year, Jade Smith, from Thorp House; maintenance person of the year, Slawomir Miernik, from Lilac Lodge care home in Lowestoft; Elizabeth Greaves, care home support services champion, from Colne House care home, in Earls Colne, Essex; and Kingsley Rising Star Claire Edmeades, of Kirkley Manor. Nicola Martin, from Decoy Farm, near Great Yarmouth, was announced as specialist services champion; Andrew Gray, from Spring Lodge care home, in Woolverstone, near Ipswich, won chef of the year; Janine Simmons, of Woodbridge Lodge care home, was care home business support champion; while Suranga Dissanayake became head office star. Head of PR Stephen Pullinger was announced as Kingsley personality of the year, while Eugene Nyamande became operations/ service quality manager of the year. Directors’ awards for outstanding contribution went to Ewa Kujawa, home manager at Eversley nursing home in Great Yarmouth, Michelle Tuffield, PA to the CEO, Zubair Dadabhoy, group purchasing director, Damian Abeyratna, group revenue accountant and peripatetic nursing manager Vivian Vuchemtigah. Entertainment was provided by international magician Ben Hart and comic singing group The Three Waiters.