THREE Monmouthshire-based carers have won plaudits for their devotion and professionalism.

Hannah Carpanini, Rita Martin, and Claire Aston were all worthy winners at this year's Wales Care Awards.

Social worker Ms Carpanini, who has worked for Monmouthshire council’s Adult Disability Service for the past 16 months, picked up two gold awards at the prizegiving ceremony – one for 'exceptional newcomer' and the other for 'dignity in care'.

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Hannah Carpanini

“It was a complete surprise – I didn’t expect to win at all," she said. "It’s such a positive thing for all the people I work with and for social care to receive some positive recognition."

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Ms Carpanini said she was inspired to follow the path of social work after spending time growing up with her cousin, who has a learning disability.

Cardiff-educated Ms Carpanini gained work experience at Dewstow Primary School in Caldicot, then worked with charity Action for Children on a children’s disabilities project, before completing a Masters' degree in social work.

Her current role is as a social worker supporting people between the ages of 18 and 65 with physical and learning disabilities.

Mrs Martin, a Q-Care worker from Caldicot, won a gold award in the 'community living care practitioner' category, for her work in the Chepstow and Caldicot areas.

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Rita Martin

Her manager, Kate Weston, who nominated her for the award, said Mrs Martin provided exceptional care, empathy, and patience with the people she cared for.

And another colleague, Scott Delap, said she was “a credit to the care industry and a wonderful person to know”. The firm had received numerous compliments about her work over the years, he added.

Ms Aston won a gold award for 'commitment to training and workforce development',

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Claire Aston

Originally from Cheshire, she has performed various roles in the health and care sector since moving to South East Wales; from helping to set up a new hospital for the Monmouthshire Local Health Group, to her current role as divisional nurse for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Lorraine Morgan, who nominated her, said Ms Aston "is a real champion of care home practice who puts residents’ needs at the heart of what she is trying to influence and achieve.

“She engages with the hidden voices - those who are frail, have complex needs and are vulnerable.”

Ms Aston was also left "speechless" when she was named the winner of a Spirit of Care special award for her career's work.

Mario Kreft, chairman of awards organisers Care Forum Wales, said of the winners: “I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights and in the months and years to come."

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay praised the three women, as well as all carers, saying: "I know how hard our carers work, helping the more vulnerable members of society, and they all need to be recognised for their efforts. Well done."