A DEDICATED staff member at an Oxfordshire care home has been presented with a long service award after 30 years of caring for residents.

Sue Pring, from Woodstock, began caring for people at Spencer Court Care Home in Woodstock in 1990.

During one of her shifts, she was surprised to receive the award from home manager, Anna Odeyemi, on behalf of care home operator The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT).

Ms Pring said: "I’ve got very fond memories of the many people I’ve cared for and of their relatives too. You become part of the family and build great rapport with them. It’s a privilege.

"I like to think what I do makes some small difference to people’s lives.”

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The long-serving carer moved to Woodstock from Wales for a job in hospitality before making a career change into caring after seeing the role advertised at Spencer Court.

She has now cared for hundreds of residents there over the past three decades.

She said: "I fancied a change and decided to give it a go. I love helping people and once I started as a carer I realised it was for me. You become part of the team and we are all so supportive of each other."

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To those who are considering a career in the care sector, she added: "Just go for it. That’s what I did and I’m still here 30 years later.”

Care homes have been closed to the public for the past four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Office for National Statistics, since the beginning of the pandemic (between the period March 2 to June 12, 2020, registered up to 20 June 2020), there were 66,112 deaths of care home residents (wherever the death occurred); of these, 19,394 involved Covid-19, which is 29.3 per cent of all deaths of care home residents.

The government announced on July 22 that residents are now able to be reunited with their loved ones as visits can go ahead again as lockdown restrictions ease.

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Ms Odeyemis says that despite Spencer Court facing challenges these past months, it has managed to push through thanks to its staff and the support from the public.

She said: "Our home is an environment where people love to live and work. Sue is evidence of this, she is completely dedicated to our residents and to the care she gives them and has been for many years.

“Particularly now people are realising the amazing work carers do each day, and that caring is a career to be proud of.

"Recent times have presented challenges to the care sector, but here at Spencer Court we are still singing and laughing every day as we continue to make life enjoyable for our residents.”

After presenting Ms Pring with the award she said: “Sue had a tear in her eye and we were all very moved.

"She and the rest of our amazing team here at Spencer Court all deserve praise, particularly during the current situation.”

OSJCT is a not-for-profit organisation working solely to provide high quality care for older people. It runs a number of care homes in Oxfordshire.