We both started to believe that we were really making a difference to peoples lives and our confidence in ourselves started to grow. Winning the regional award meant that we would automatically be through to the National finals but… it also meant another round of interviews.
We were on such a high but it was hard to think about the fact that we were actually in with a chance of winning the award for the whole of UK. Interview day soon came around, so off we went to catch our train to Birmingham. We had brought our little scrapbook of activities to share with the judges so we spent the journey looking through the photos and reminiscing about the journey we had been on over the past two years. We still often reflect on the last 7 years, the ups and downs, the successes, the achievements and the amazing people we have had the pleasure to support.
The night of the National awards finally came around, I think we were more relaxed than the first time around. We already felt like winners (as cheesy as it sounds) because winning the regional award was more than we had ever hoped for. So we made a promise to each other- to go and have fun and celebrate no matter what the outcome.
We had come with our biggest supporters: our husbands and we were all in good spirits. When the time for the awards came around, we watched and cheered for the winners in each category. You could really see what it meant to people to win- the sense of pride they all reflected as they made their way onto the stage.
When our names were called out as the national winners of the Dementia Carer Award, we just couldn’t believe it. It is a moment I will never forget. We took the long walk up to to the stage to collect our award and I think this is the first time I have ever felt truly proud of myself. Proud of us.
When we came back to the day clubs with our award, we celebrated together with everyone. We knew all the families of the people we supported and I know they shared in our happiness and excitement. We really have had so many people come on our journey with us- people that will always mean a great deal to us- if you are one of those people now reading this-