Superstar chef is named E&F 2023 gold award winner

Hospital chef Dave Smith today became this year’s Solent NHS Estates and Facilities gold award winner for being truly outstanding.

Judges chose the Portsmouth based chef supervisor after hearing how he had been “an absolute superstar” keeping things running while his colleagues competed in the NHS Chef 2022 competition.

Dave, who has worked for Solent NHS Trust for 25 years, had managed the kitchens at St Mary’s Community Health Campus single-handedly at times and cancelled days off to cover while his workmates Jim Richardson and Joe Hennigan took part in the semi-finals.

And every day loyal Dave texted the pair good luck messages and asked how they were getting on.

Today the unsung hero stepped into the spotlight himself to receive a unique gold badge, framed certificate, gift voucher and chocolates as our 2023 gold award winner.

“I’m a bit speechless to be given this,” he said. “We are very much a team.”

Mark Young, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, said: “We had some excellent nominations from across the team, but Dave was the overwhelming choice of our judging panel.

“He was so adaptable as Jim and Joe progressed through the competition and his dedication to the catering team is clear for all to see. Without him stepping up and going the extra mile, Jim and Joe wouldn’t have been able to go off and take part in competitions and other events.”


Ronnie Parrett-Harris, Assistant Catering Manager, said: “Dave has been very much the unsung hero and sometimes undervalued member of our team, so it is fantastic to see him get the recognition he deserves.”

Dave was presented with his badge – a one-off gold version of a 2023 design being given to all Solent Estates and Facilities staff today – and certificate by last year’s winner, housekeeper Julieta Sarno, based at Southampton’s Western Community Hospital.

As well as a badge, every member of the department received an iced biscuit and a booklet featuring some of the team’s 2022/23 highlights as a thank you for all their hard work throughout the year.

The gifts were given out on the second National Healthcare Estates and Facilities Day, designed to shine a line on the nation’s unsung heroes across the country who keep our hospitals and healthcare buildings running.

Congratulations go to everyone who was nominated for our gold award.

The roll of honour included:

Marie Ames, Estates Locality Manager, Bitterne, Southampton

“Despite the demanding nature of her position, Marie often goes unnoticed, quietly working behind the scenes to make a significant difference to the morale of both the team and those we serve. Her tireless efforts contribute to a positive and uplifting atmosphere that resonates with staff and patients alike. She has an innate ability to uplift spirits and create a sense of unity within our workplace.”


Dave Athersuch, Security Officer, Portsmouth

“This is an example of person who will go above and beyond; who is not only good at his work but is also a compassionate and thoughtful human being. As a security officer, Dave comes across many troubled or distressed people. He shows them empathy, kindness and tries to help everyone who needs it. He is excellent at his job.”


Madalina Farcau, Hostess Supervisor, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton

“Madalina is an outstanding supervisor. Her door is always open for a friendly chat. If you have any problems, big or small, she will always try to support you, and always takes the time to listen to you.

“She is our wellbeing champion and is really amazing with everyone she comes in contact with. All the staff have the greatest respect for her.”


Billie Goldthorpe, PPE store worker, Portsmouth

“Billie is exceptional at his position and a credit to the whole Trust. Always friendly, approachable and keen to help. He is an outstanding example of multi-disciplinary career within a Trust.”


Kirsty Harris, Facilities Management Administrator and Security Porter Manager, Western Community Hospital, Southampton

“Kirsty has been part of the Western for many years, and all the time I have known her she is always there to help you in any way she can. Nothing is too much trouble for her; if she doesn’t know the answer she will find out. To me and many other colleagues she is our hero; without her, work life just wouldn’t be the same.”


Chris James, Senior Estate Maintenance and Infrastructure Manager, Westwood Bungalow, Southampton

“Chris has shown fantastic leadership bringing in-house our maintenance provision. He truly cares that all patients and staff have a pleasant, healthy and safe environment in which to recover and work.  He is first in and last to leave and still finds time to check in with his team to make sure they are personally ok. With 43 years NHS service, he is an inspiration to us all and an unsung hero that keeps the wheels turning 24/7 across our entire estate.”


Kerrie Lowe, PA to Mark Young, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, Westwood House, Southampton

“Kerrie is inspirational; she goes above and beyond daily to support every member of the Estates team. Nothing is ever too much for Kerrie, and she will always help when asked. She makes everyone feel special, by celebrating their achievements, birthdays or special occasions. She is truly amazing and we are lucky to have her in our team.”


Mark Maffey, Estates Architect and Senior Project Manager

“Mark is a fantastic and commensurate professional. He takes the time to welcome you, make you feel comfortable in any meeting and really sets the scene whilst explaining hard to understand aspects of a project.  Mark is very aware of the many learning styles that people have and truly makes it interesting and, with his little anecdotes and stories with real life examples making you part of the process, is very engaging.”


Beverley Pape, Facilities Supervisor, St Mary’s Community Health Campus, Portsmouth

“Beverley is one of the kindest people that I know. She supports and cares for our team tirelessly; organises raffles, celebrations and charity events for us; and always finds the time to listen and offer support. She enjoys singing in the office (aloud!) and bakes us cakes. All this helps brighten the mood of the whole team.”


Helen Sammars, Facilities Service Assistant, St Mary’s Community Health Campus, Portsmouth

“Helen is extremely knowledgeable, professional and well organised. Her attention to detail is next to none – she does not make mistakes! At the same time she is nice, approachable and caring to co-workers. A great baker too!”


Steve Scutchings, Estates Site Operations Manager

“Steve is a tireless worker – always committed to the cause and has the most can-do attitude of anyone I know. He’s a great people person and always finds a way to solve tricky problems… and no matter what’s thrown at him he never complains! He works fast and is forever spinning many plates but will always return a call or an email quickly. He’ll roll up his sleeves when needed and on occasions has become a one-man removal company with his trusty hatchback.”


Anna Vasi, housekeeper on Fanshawe Ward, Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton

“Anna  is always polite and remains calm, even under stressful circumstances. Her demeanour always helps the rest of the team to relax when dealing with such situations; it is like she spreads calm emissions wherever she is. Her self-assured personality gives confidence to the rest of the team.”


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