April Blacher, an administrator at The Heights nursing home in High Wycombe has earned the coveted title of overall winner in the Caring Times and Ontex Care Home Heroes Awards 2018.
The nationwide competition celebrates the unsung heroes in the care sector who go above and beyond to make a real difference to people’s lives.
April received the accolade for her dedication to ensuring dignity and respect for end-of-life care when she went out of her way to personally arrange a funeral for a gentleman at the Heights who passed away and left no contact details for any remaining family or friends.
Keith Jones was a polite, well spoken and educated man who April had come to know and she enjoyed his company while he was at The Heights. He passed away leaving notebooks and journals documenting his travels, education and professional career, having gained qualifications via the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers.
April embarked on a quest, with the help of a professional celebrant, to piece together his life via the copious notes he had made as a record and she was able to track down two remaining cousins and make contact with them in order to share her intention of helping to organise a dignified funeral to mark Keith’s passing.
Music was selected that was deemed appropriate; Elgar’s Nimrod for its depth and emotion, Gymnopedie by Satie as a reminder of how he would gaze upon the world and finally The Dambusters March as a nod to his childhood as a wartime baby.
Commenting on the award, April said:
It was a real honour to be allowed to arrange Keith’s funeral. To me he was generally a man of few words so it was wonderful to learn through the copious notes he kept that he travelled the world and clearly achieved professional success in his working life. Dignity and respect are so critical in care and it was a privilege to be able to play a part in celebrating a life well lived.
Blesson Thomas, manager of The Heights, added:
April truly embodies our values and consistently goes out of her way to show compassion and care. This extremely thoughtful gesture was a genuine act of kindness and we’re so thrilled it has been recognised in such a high profile industry competition.