AN IRVINE woman has been honoured with a top award for her fundraising efforts.

Irene Lewis was recently crowned winner of Barchester Healthcare’s Foundation Champion of the year after raising almost £3,000 for charities through her work.

Mum-of-four, Irene, 58, is Hospitality Operations Manager for Barchester Healthcare.

The awards celebrate staff and volunteers who go the extra mile for the benefit of residents and patients living in Barchester care homes and independent mental health hospitals.

Categories range from ‘Registered Nurse of the Year’ and ‘Carer of the Year’ to ‘Maintenance Champion’ and ‘Team of the Year’.

More than 1,900 nominations were received from colleagues in Barchester homes and hospitals across the UK, and all entries were of a very high standard.

After being shortlisted as one of four divisional winners, Irene was interviewed by a panel of judges for the final round. She then joined the other divisional winners from across the UK at a special awards ceremony in October where she was awarded the national prize, and was presented with the trophy and a £500 gift voucher by Barchester’s CEO Dr Pete Calveley.

The finalists of The Foundation Champion Award were selected by the Foundation Board of Trustees for their fundraising efforts.

Irene, from Perceton, said she was delighted to win. She said: “I am very proud, and very honoured to be receiving this award. We work hard here at Barchester focus on the people we care for, and not for accolades, but it really is very special to be recognised in this way.”

Pete, who is the chairman for the charity and a judge for the category said that “Irene impressed us with her initiative of the very competitive Exec Curry Cook-off in early May which featured myself alongside the executive board. A lot of work went into the organising and fundraising, and thanks to Irene’s masterful execution of the event we raised £2,867 for the Foundation. The foundation means so much to a lot of people and Irene did a fantastic job rallying our team together for a very successful venture.”

Barchester Healthcare is one of the UK’s largest care providers supporting older people and those with mental health conditions to live independent lives with dignity and respect.