Caring duo go the extra smile

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Pendine Park Smile award winners Olga Azarcon, and Christine Lewis with Pendine Park Chief Executive Gwynfor Jones and Centre Manager of Smartcare Ann Farr.

 A caring duo have won a top award for going the extra smile.

Christine Lewis, 55, and Olga Azarcon, 41, who work at Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham, shared the Top Smiler prize at the company’s annual Smile Awards.

The award was created in 2010 to recognise those who not only smile, but who go the extra mile to help others at Pendine Park, which employs over 600 people across seven care homes, a training company and domiciliary care company.

All the entrants in the competition were nominated by their co-workers, the care home residents and their families.

Fifteen finalists were chosen by a panel of judges. Usually, there is only one overall winner, but the judges decided they couldn’t chose between Christine and Olga, so awarded them both the gong.

Christine, from Wrexham, who works at a Care Support worker at Pendine Park’s Highfield care home, said: “I was made up when I found out that I’d won a Smile Award.

The married mum of three, who has worked at Pendine Park for four years, added: “I was shocked and nearly in tears. It made my day. I feel very proud and it was lovely to read what my other members of staff, residents and members of their families had written about me.

“I just love my job, and I can honestly say that. It’s so nice and friendly at Pendine Park. I sing all of the time in work. My favourite song is Jingle Bells.

“A smile is so important for the residents, because it’s something that can make their day. It makes you feel good to make them feel good.”

Olga, a senior care practitioner at Pendine Park’s Bodlandeb care home, said: “I’m always smiling when I come in to work. I come in with a smile and I leave with a smile. People have told me that my smile is infectious.”

The mother of four who is originally from the town of Nueva Ecija near Manila in the Philippines, added: “I think it’s really important to smile because when you smile you can make other people feel better. It’s a way of showing you care and it makes you approachable.

“I am always singing for the residents and dancing. I know their favourite songs so I sing the old songs for them, and they really like that.

“I really love working at Pendine Park. The management is very supportive and I have grown as a person here. There are a lot of training opportunities here and as well as opportunities to progress.”

Pendine Park spokesperson Gwynfor Jones congratulated the winners.

He said: “This is an award for people who have gone the extra smile.

“It’s an opportunity for the staff, the residents and their families to nominate who they think deserves a smile award.

“It’s to recognise people who have gone the extra mile to help the residents or their colleagues. We call is the Smile Award but it’s about more than a smile.

“Normally we only have one Top Smile award, but this time round we had two because they were both so good that we couldn’t choose between them.

“I am very proud of the Smile Awards because the success of Pendine Park is built on us going the extra mile for the residents, and we can only do that so long as we have staff who are recognised as doing the same.

Ann Farr, Centre Manager of Smartcare, the Wrexham-based training arm of the Pendine Park care organisation, added: “I just think the Smile Awards are a really nice for the staff to be recognised by other people.

“I love to read the quotes of what people have said about members of staff. It makes me feel very proud of them.”