AN EXCEPTIONAL care assistant has been honoured in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for services to Older People and Dementia Care, writes Hayley Bromley.
After managing a shoe shop for more than two decades, Hilda started working as a cleaner at the Royley House Care Home, Lea View before her manager suggested she became a carer.
Hilda described the move as “the best thing she ever did” and has been working as a care assistant for nearly 14 years.
The British Empire Medal (BEM) is awarded to individuals for ‘hands-on’ service to their local community.
Modest Hilda, who prefers to stay out of the limelight, was shocked to discover she had been awarded the accolade.
She said: “When I received the letter from the Lord Lieutenant I was lost for words.
“I never expected anything like this to happen in my wildest dreams, it is still sinking in!
“I am a big royalist and to receive the BEM for doing the job that I love is a tremendous honour.
“I had no idea I had been put forward and my family were over the moon when I told them.”
She continued: “I love working here. The people have been very good to me over the years and it has kept me going through some difficult times.
“I originally came here as a cleaner. But that only lasted two weeks before the manager at the time, Val Campbell, said she wanted me to be a carer.
“I kept insisting I didn’t have it in me, but she told me to just give it a chance and see how it goes.
“I have been here nearly 14 years now and I can honestly say it is the best thing I ever did.”
Hilda’s passion for working with older people stems from her own experience looking after her mother and grandmother.
Her willingness to go the extra mile caught the attention of her nominator.
Valerie Chadwick, who nominated Hilda for the BEM also previously nominated her for a Pride in Oldham award in 2015.
She said: “Hilda’s devotion to the residents and her care for them is outstanding and the way she mentors the young staff is simply exceptional. Nothing is too much trouble for her.
“My mother was a resident here at Royley and in the seven years she was here she was always looked after exceptionally well, but the stand-out carer was always Hilda.
“She took a lot of pressure off me at a difficult time.
“She is just outstanding and her work means everything to her.
“Whether it is the residents, their families or the staff, she’ll try to help everyone.”