A North Devon District Hospital catering assistant has won two awards for outstanding service.

North Devon District Hospital catering assistant Sam Stacey goes out of her way to make patients feel welcome.North Devon District Hospital catering assistant Sam Stacey goes out of her way to make patients feel welcome.

Sam Stacey, a patient services assistant at NDDH, was honoured at the annual Sodexo Service Excellence Awards following outstanding feedback from patients, colleagues and clinical staff.

The awards recognise the most dedicated employees working with the public from Sodexo’s 35,000-strong workforce in the UK and Ireland.

Sam was named Food Service Assistant of the Year and also received the overall Kathy Ridgard Award. The award is given in honour of Kathy Ridgard, who was director for Sodexo’s Centre of Excellence before she passed away in February 2013.

Sam said: “I think it’s always important to remember that many patients can feel anxious when they’re in hospital. To make somebody smile and take away a bit of that anxiety is what it’s all about for me.

“I go home happy knowing that I’ve made a difference.”

Sam hails from North Devon and before joining the Sodexo team at NDDH nearly eight years ago, she ran two pubs in Ilfracombe. As a patient services assistant she serves meals and refreshments to patients on King George V Ward.

Marie Richards, King George V Ward manager, said: “We’re really proud of Sam, and it’s fantastic that she has been recognised through these awards.

“She brings such a positive energy to the ward and she always shows compassion through her work. She’s a valued part of the team and we feel lucky to have her here.”

Sharron Ellis, Sodexo contract manager at NDDH, added: “Sam really does improve the quality of life for every patient on her ward. She doesn’t just hand out meals and drinks – she takes time to understand her patients’ likes and dislikes.

“For those who may not have regular visitors, she ensures that they have a friendly person to talk to, and does her best to brighten up their day.”

Sodexo is responsible for a range of hotel services at the hospital, including portering, housekeeping, catering, retail and security, employing 290 people.