A mum of three who organises a major awards ceremony every year will have her own moment in the sun – at a garden party with the Queen.
Sue Thomas, from Wrexham, has been invited to the party at Buckingham Palace as a reward for all her hard work with the prestigious Wales Care Awards which honour the skill and dedication of people who work in the social care.
Sue began work at Pendine Park care organisation as an admin clerk more than a decade ago and five years ago was promoted to Personal Assistant to proprietor Mario Kreft MBE.
And as part of her duties Sue took on the role of chief administrator for Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up to help health and care providers provide the best outcomes for those who need social care.
Sue says she was left speechless after discovering her work with Care Forum Wales had led to the invitation to the Buckingham Palace garden tea party with Her Majesty.
She said: “I was absolutely thrilled, surprised and delighted. I have never been invited to anything remotely similar before. It really is amazing.
“I have to thank Wrexham AM and Welsh Government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths AM for nominating me.
“It’s a real honour and I will be representing everyone connected with Care Forum Wales as well as Pendine Park Care Organisation.
“It’s really humbling Lesley Griffiths took the time to nominate me. She has always been a huge supporter of Care Forum Wales and Pendine Park.”
Sue will be attending the Buckingham Palace Garden tea Party with her husband, Darren, a brickwork contractor.
She said: “He was as shocked as I was when the invite arrived but very proud. He’s really looking forward to it though.
“Our daughters, Hannah, 20, Sophie, 18, and Millie, 13, are thrilled and insisting we go on some serious shopping trips for my outfit.”
The annual Care Forum Wales Care Awards take a great deal of organising and Sue says it’s a rolling programme as she starts work on the next as soon as the last one finishes.
She said: “Care Forum Wales works hard to raise the profile and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the social care workforce.
“My job is to co-ordinate and organise the event and raise sponsorship where I can. Care Forum Wales has more than 450 members across Wales. The awards seek to reward good practice and celebrate good care among the more than 90,000 employees of members.
“It’s a year round job collating the information and collecting nominations. We normally receive around 300 nominations for the 22 awards.
“An independent panel then goes through the nominations and an initial shortlist of six nominees is prepared. This is then reduced to three nominees who attend the awards ceremony which is usually held in October in Cardiff City Hall.
“The nominees all receive either a gold, silver or bronze award. It’s a wonderful occasion which, quite rightly, celebrates the excellent work that often goes un-noticed by the general public.
“We are really very lucky because we have some wonderful sponsors and I am eternally grateful to them because the Wales Care Awards simply wouldn’t happen without their generosity.”
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths said: “Pendine Park is a fantastic organisation and a leading social care provider in our community.
“Without the hard work and dedication of the staff, Pendine Park would not have been able to achieve their highly respected reputation.
“Sue personifies the excellent care and expertise the organisation provides and is a shining example of the exceptional people who care for the most vulnerable in our society.
“In addition to her work at Pendine Park, Sue is also a chief administrator of Care Forum Wales. Representing hundreds of care homes and social care providers across the country, Sue’s work aims to promote partnership and improve and advance the social care sector across Wales.
“I am delighted her nomination has been successful and I am sure Sue, along with her husband Darren, will have a wonderful day at Buckingham Palace.”
Mario Kreft, who is also the Chair of Care Forum Wales and the founder of the Wales Care Awards, was “absolutely thrilled” for Sue.
He said: “The invitation to the garden party with the Queen is richly deserved as recognition of the fantastic work Sue has done – and continues to do – to make the Wales Care Awards such a great success.”
Care Forum Wales was set-up in March 1993 and works closely with the Welsh Assembly Government, commissioners and regulators to shape policies that focus on making sure people receive high-quality care.
Care Forum Wales also organises training events, professional groups and conferences to promote best practice and share knowledge among its members.
Caption: Sue Thomas, getting ready for the tea party with the Queen.