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Southend Hospital caterer Bev beats off thousands to win prestigious award

15 May 2016

Health Care

A Southend Hospital caterer has beaten 7,500 other employees to win a nationwide award.

Bev Duffield, 51, works for Medirest, part of the Compass Group UK&Ireland, and won the group's Employee of the Year award.

Medirest provides meals to Southend Hospital's staff and patients, as well as 50 other hospitals nationwide.

Bev is based on Princess Anne ward, a ward for elderly patients at Southend Hospital and won because she goes above and beyond her role of ordering, preparing and distributing food and drink.

The mother-of-two from Hockley, who has worked at Southend Hospital for 22 years said: "I don't know what the fuss is all about. I just get on with my job.

"But I always stand by my belief that I treat the patients in the same way as I would expect an elderly relative of mine to be treated. If you have dementia patients, you give them extra time."

Working within the NHS is in Bev's blood. Her grandfather Curly was a chef at Rochford Hospital, her grandmother was an orderly, her mum was a domestic at Southend Hospital for more than 40 years, and her sister also worked there for a time.

"It's quite a family firm, isn't it?" she smiles. "I always saw how my mum used to be with patients. She always treated everyone with respect."

Bev is popular with volunteer Feeding Buddies, mealtime assistants who help her carry out the trays to patients and help nurses encourage patients to eat.

"The Feeding Buddies are wonderful," Bev adds. "They are very good with patients, reliable, really valuable to the ward."

She is pictured here with, left to right, Buddies Vera Parrish and Cath Adams.

Bev attended the awards, held at Twickenham stadium on Thursday evening, with husband Nick, 56, and Egle Cironkaite, Medirest manager at Southend Hospital.

Egle said: "Bev represents everything Medirest stand for - performance with heart. She is exceptional and we are immensely lucky to have her on our team."

Princess Anne ward manager Helen Cullen said: "Bev is so focussed on the patients. She always goes the extra mile to make sure everyone is looked after."

She wins a trophy and £300 worth of high-street vouchers.