Michelle Law, who works as a bursar at The Meadows care home in Didcot has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for her inspirational work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Michelle, who works for The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT), took on many extra roles such as housekeeper, chef, and family liaison during the initial wave when asymptomatic colleagues were at home in isolation.
The mother of four, who lives in Grove, near Wantage, and has been featured in the National Care Forum (NCF) Caring in Covid book, was put forward for the Award for services to care home residents far above and beyond her day-to-day role.
From March 2020, Michelle found herself working extra hours and weekends to cover the work of colleagues who were sent home because of COVID-19, to ensure the home ran smoothly and the sixty plus residents were well cared for.
Michelle, who joined the Trust in 2017, also took on the very special and sensitive role of communicating with family members of loved ones in the home who fell ill with COVID-19, of which some sadly died. She organised video calls between residents and relatives, organised video calls to show bereaved relatives the treasured keepsakes left by their loved ones and went on to organise and live stream a funeral for family members abroad who could not attend due to living in USA and Canada.
Michelle also took on housekeeping, cooking and recruitment administration when needed. Every evening Michelle went home to her family and helped to organise home schooling for her younger children.
Michelle said: “I am shocked but totally honoured to be awarded this BEM. The onset of COVID-19 last year was very hard for all of us working in care but we pulled together to reassure and care for our residents, and to keep in touch with family members.
“It was never a question for me really. I love working at The Meadows. I feel truly honoured to work alongside such amazing people and we are all part of a huge family. I couldn’t sit back and watch other people struggle or see a need and not help to meet it.”
OSJCT Chief Executive, Dan Hayes, said: “Michelle is a wonderful example of the kind of compassionate, committed, and latterly heroic individuals that work in social care. Her devotion has meant that her home, The Meadows in Didcot, has never been short of support. She has been a catalyst amongst a great group of colleagues that work in the home, and without people like Michelle, quite frankly we couldn’t do what we do. There are so many people in our Trust deserving of national recognition like this, and I know that every one of them will be delighted that Michelle is to receive this honour.”
Home Manager, Valerie Jarvis, said: “Everyone at The Meadows is thrilled that Michelle has been included in this year’s Queen’s Honours. She is a wonderful part of our team; she never complains and is always ready to help with a smile on her face.
“Everyone within the home was extremely committed to ensure our resident’s safety and wellbeing were priority since March 2020, and Michelle rallied to every challenge we faced with dedication, professionalism and total commitment.”
Michelle will receive her medal at an official ceremony later in the year.