Pettswood Pharmacy is an official sponsor of the News Shopper Carer Awards
AWAY from the glitzy award ceremonies for actors and popstars there are the people who actually matter and this is why the Petts Wood Pharmacy Carer Award was born.
Dreamt up by pharmacist Gulraj Dhillon to honour the borough’s unsung heroes, News Shopper received scores of nominations and was touched by the selflessness of the carers.
They would have all been worthy winners but the judges - News Shopper editor Andrew Parkes and the Deputy Lieutenant of Bexley Major David Hewer - both agreed June Larby stood out as the clear winner.
The 81-year-old, from Beckenham, has a husband with dementia and a daughter with mild learning disabilities who she looks after. This is despite her own health problems, as she has osteoporosis, arthritis, suffering from Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease and being diabetes. She soldiers on doing all the housework, cooking, shopping, ironing and cleaning and dealing with her 83-year-old husband Sidney’s challenging behaviour.
Her daughter Carol, 65, also reciprocates by helping when they go out shopping as Mrs Larby is partially sighted and cannot see the bus numbers or even the bus itself so helps her know which one to get on.
But despite all her good work Mrs Larby (pictured) says she is shocked to have won.
“I just cannot believe it, I just think they are talking about someone else.
“I just laughed when I found out I had been nominated and I did not think I was going to win it.
“Things like this do not happen to me.
“We get on with things and you do not think about it.
“I moan but then you get on with it.”
Mrs Larby was nominated for the award by Pat O’Shea from Bromley Mencap who said: “June is just amazing.
“She’s one of the most stoic people I know and she puts up with so much of her own ill health and has a lot of emotional stress from her husband with dementia.
“She cares for Carol and Carol cares for her as well, she is her mother’s eyes.”
Giving a speech before Mrs Larby was presented with a £1,000 cheque, flowers and a box of chocolates, Mr Parkes said: “David and I were incredibly moved that morning when we judged the entries and yours absolutely stood out for the work you do and everything you do in the circumstances.
“We both felt the selflessness of what you give and realise we are not quite worthy.”
He added: “For Gulraj to come up with this idea, I think that’s fantastic.”
Mr Dhillon, of Petts Wood Pharmacy, Queensway, Petts Wood, said he wanted to give the award to say thank you to the community for its support and to recognise the work of carers, which often goes unnoticed.
He said: “Without the local community we would not have grown like we have so we came up with the idea of giving something back to the people who need it.
“We see quite a few carers come in to the pharmacy and we understand what they are going through.
“The carers we normally deal with look after people who cannot take care of themselves and so rely on their carers and us for their medication.”