EMPATHY, reassurance, and knowledge are all qualities that shone through and led to a Weaverham pharmacy assistant being recognised in a national award.

Sheila Gerrard, who works at LloydsPharmacy on Lime Avenue, was highly commended in the Infant Care Champion category at this year’s Training Matters Recognition of Excellence Awards.

Sheila was praised for her approach when advising new parents, and her knowledge of minor ailments and over-the-counter medicines for infants was described as ‘excellent’.

She was also lauded for her passion to support parents during what can be a worrying time when their children are ill, and for ensuring they have any extra information they may need.

The 61-year-old who has worked in the village's two LLoydsPharmacy shops for 23 years, said: "I was absoluetly gobsmacked when I heard. I've been in pharamcy for a long time now, and to me it's just doing my job to the best of my ability.

"It's lovely to be acknowledged like this. I was dead chufed when I found out, even though it was a shock."

Shiela also praised her colleagues, who have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic.

She said: "It's been a difficult time, and everyone here has worked so hard and none stop to make sure that we can help everybody in the community. 

Helena Beer, editor of Training Matters and awards host, said: “This year we had a record number of entries, all with amazing stories to tell.

“Our finalists represent the best of community pharmacy and I’m thrilled to be able to reward these individuals for their hard work, dedication and passion for helping the people in their communities live better and healthier lives.

“They really do make a difference, especially during such worrying times as we’re currently living through, and they deserve to be celebrated and recognised for all that they do.”