A Bargoed woman who has carried her deep commitment to putting people in her care first throughout her rise from the nurse to senior care homes executive has taken bronze in a national awards.

As a young nurse working in the National Health Service Cheryl Wanklyn realised how vital is was to allow patients their privacy and dignity.

Many years later and now operations director for a large group of care homes where colleagues describe her as an “inspiration”, she says these things are still as important to her as ever.

It is this dedication to her caring role that saw 64-year-old Cheryl take bronze at the 2018 Wales Care Awards.

She was shortlisted for the Outstanding Service Award, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.

Originally from Bargoed, Cheryl trained as a nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport immediately after leaving school.

Her career has seen her become the first Enrolled Nurse in Wales to complete a conversion to Registered Nurse Level 1 and switching to the private sector when she became manager of the Cherry Tree Nursing Home in Caldicot, which was eventually taken over by Hallmark Care Homes.

She is now Hallmark's operations director responsible for all 17 of its care homes in England and South Wales.

Cheryl said: “The job is not office based and I like to call in to see them as often as possible and to be part of what they do. I try to lead by example and empower the team but as a partner in what they are doing.

“I speak at least once a week to the managers of our Welsh homes and know exactly what is happening with them all.

“During my nurse training with the NHS I learned that the privacy and dignity of patients was very important and when in care people should be able to have as normal a life as possible.

“My vision is for them to have quality of life. Things have moved on from those days but that is still very important.”

Mario Kreft, the chairman of Care Forum Wales, said: ““This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.”