A singing kitchen assistant who ensured residents at a Bulwell care home were well fed throughout the pandemic has been named employee of the year.

Gillian Prowett, 56, had only been working at Fairway View for four months when she found herself running the kitchen due to staff absences.

But according to staff and residents, Gillian, who is well-known at the home for singing at the top of her voice, was not phased and rose to the challenge admirably.

Gillian was voted employee of the year by a landslide during a secret staff ballot. Each of the 47-strong team at the Swale Close luxury residential and dementia care home had three votes.

At a small celebratory event, Gillian was presented with flowers and gifts by home manager Gaynor Smart-McCann and Lorraine Abbiss, regional director of Ideal Carehomes.

Gaynor said that Gillian’s ‘unwavering commitment’ meant food service was unaffected and residents continued to enjoy all of their favourite dishes throughout the day.

She said: “Like all care homes, we have had our challenges during the pandemic. But Gillian’s absolute dedication meant that our kitchen was able to keep on providing the hot, nutritionally-balanced and tasty choice of meals that our residents enjoy.

“Despite her years of experience in catering, Gillian had decided to take on a part time kitchen assistant role to enable her to fulfil her own caring responsibilities for a family member.

“For three months this lady juggled her role as a family carer alongside stepping up to looking after residents’ dietary needs full time. She never once complained and just said she was doing her job.

“Gillian clearly does not recognise her own value but everyone at Fairway View certainly does.

“Employee of the year awards are not just about length of service – sometimes someone can make a lasting impression in a very short time. We are so glad that Gillian chose to walk through our door.”

Gillian, who has previously worked as a school cook, a van driver and a pattern cutter, said: “I can’t believe I won. I’m just doing my job. I can’t believe people voted for me.”

Fairway View is a purpose built luxury residential and dementia care home operated by Ideal Carehomes. With 41 ensuite bedrooms, it is rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.