Buxton’s Anna Simpson has been crowned UK Worker of the Year for 2011, a nationwide competition which celebrates “good old-fashioned hard graft”.
The support worker for Derbyshire charity The Amber Trust, who provides practical help for adults suffering from mental ill-health, picked up the award and a prize package that includes the choice of Renault MPV, van or family car.
Thirty-year-old Anna was one of six finalists who were praised by judging panel Chairman and TV presenter Quentin Willson as extremely high calibre.
Organised by leading workwear manufacturer, Dickies, to recognise and reward excellence in the British workforce, the gala award ceremony at Marlow’s Crowne Plaza hotel on Friday was only the second of its kind - and organisers are hoping the annual event will become a major celebration of the extraordinary things ordinary workers do.
A delighted Anna said: “It’s been absolutely lovely. I’ve met a fantastic bunch of people and to tell you the truth I’m just trying to take it all in. I know it will be life-changing and I hope it will boost people doing the sort of work I do, who are often the unsung heroes.”
Mr Willson, best-known for championing the consumer rights of motorists, said Anna had impressed the judges with her passion and commitment for caring for her clients at the Trust.
“You do it because you want to help people,” he said. “That is the most wonderful thing.”
“The standard of entries was notably higher this year than last and each of our finalists immensely impressed me.”
“Dickies has come up with a fantastic initiative in these hard times – just the sort of positive thrust we need to help get us out of an economic recession,” added Mr Willson.
“It’s surprising that more people haven’t cottoned on to the fact that the secret of success is good old-fashioned graft.”
Shrewsbury Town Football Club Head Chef, Paul Crowe took the runner-up prize and North West England Lollipop Lady of the Year, Emily Jones was third. Highly commended were Newport electrician, Sam Gibbon, Jason Lawrence – an AV sales manager from Abingdon and Liverpool teacher, Jan Whelan.
“Choosing a winner from the six finalists we had was an enjoyable, but really hard task,” said Maurice Morton, European Sales and Marketing Director for the world-renowned workwear firm.
Dickies is looking forward to next year’s event, which demonstrates its commitment to the British market and the workers for whom the company provides quality, cost effective workwear.