A CARING grandmother from West Swindon is enjoying some unexpected time in the spotlight after her employer decided to honour her years of commitment and sensitive support.

Bluebird Care Swindon bosses nominated 58-year-old Linda Harvey for a company award because they were impressed with how she has helped disabled customer Sarah Furze live independently at home for the last 12 years.

Linda won the south west regional round and is in the running to be recognised for her tireless efforts at a national awards ceremony later this month.

The mum-of-four with seven grandchildren said: "“It was a complete surprise to be nominated. It isn’t just me who supports Sarah, it’s a whole team, but I have been helping her for the last 12 years and it just makes me so happy to see her smile.

"Sarah is just wonderful and I love helping her. When we first met, she didn’t speak, but now she says a few words and I know what she likes and what she enjoys."

When Linda first helped Sarah, she was living with her parents, but after Sarah’s mother died, a care package was put in place and it was decided she would benefit from living independently, so a flat was found for her in Oakleaze.

Linda was involved with all aspects of Sarah’s move, including choosing colour schemes and personally decorating the flat.

Linda researched the best lighting to benefit Sarah and strategically placed glitter-balls and bubble lamps to add a bit of colour and sparkle to her new home.

Linda added: "She loves colours and lights, so when we decorated her flat we made it bright and wacky. She even has a purple kitchen."

Sarah has a number of learning and physical disabilities, including epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Linda and another carer take her on two holidays a year and regular days out, as well as cooking a Sunday roast for Sarah and her dad Tony.

Tony said: “Linda puts Sarah’s and my health and welfare before herself, always making sure we are OK. Knowing that Sarah is so well cared for gives me peace of mind that Sarah will be happy for the rest of her life, when I am no longer around.”

Bluebird Care Swindon care manager Katrina Simms said: “Linda gives 100 per cent in all she does for Sarah, always giving that little bit extra, usually in her own time.

"Sarah’s needs are always addressed to the highest standards. Linda’s driving force in Sarah’s care team promotes a positive and proactive approach focused on Sarah’s needs and goals.”

The Bluebird Care awards ceremony will be held at Fortnum and Mason on November 14.