District nurse Patricia Thomas was stunned to be told she had won the star prize in an all-staff Oxford Health Charity draw – an overnight stay at celebrity chef Raymond Blanc’s luxury Oxfordshire hotel and dinner in his two-Michelin-starred restaurant.
First, “I never win anything!” she said.
Second, “I didn’t even know I had been entered into anything!”
Third: she didn’t have a slightest idea what kind of place Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons was: a 15th century manor at Great Milton.
And finally: did she know how she’d be getting to the venue? “I’ll be driving, I suppose,” she said. No – she’ll be chauffeured in a luxury Porsche.
“Oh wow, this is getting better and better. I better go and tell my colleagues!”
“I’m pleased and so shocked. It’s lovely they’ve organized such prizes: it’s such a boost,” she says.
Patricia’s win was the main prize in a draw organized by Oxford Health Charity. Trust Governor and Learning Development Lead Vicky Drew championed the draw and personally contacted venues for their support as a morale booster for our dedicated workforce during COVID-19. In addition to Patricia’s prize, there were four other overnight stay + dinner for two packages to be won.
“I must have seen it in the trust communications – but I don’t retain all the information we are getting!” Patricia defends her not-knowing. And who would blame her? The community nurse has been busy looking after patients in Carterton, West Oxfordshire, throughout the pandemic.
“It’s been fine, and our team has actually grown,” she says brightly. “Of course, it’s been a bit strange. We don’t see our colleagues as much as normally. But everyone has been stepping up to mark, and we have kept seeing our patients, following the guidelines and wearing our PPE.”
She’s been with Oxford Health for three years and of that for a year a team leader for the Burford, Bampton and Broadshires District Nursing Team. Prior to that she was based in North Wales and moved to Oxfordshire with her husband Carl when his job with Airbus brought him here. At the time of talking Patricia is quite keen to get off the phone and let him know about the treat.
“I hope this lockdown ends soon. I can’t wait to get there!”
Chef patron of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Raymond Blanc had earlier sent a personal message to Oxford Health. He said: “We are truly appreciative of the efforts and challenge this virus has put upon the teams across the Trust and are delighted to be able to give the worthy winner a chance to be spoilt by us. We look forward to welcoming you soon”.
Whenever Patricia and Carl will be able to claim their stay, they’ll be chauffeured to the manor in a super luxurious Porsche Macan, thanks to the generosity of Richard White, Operational Director at DS Executive Cars.
Richard, whose High Wycombe and London-based business chauffeurs VIPs from ambassadors to actors and musicians to moguls, spotted Oxford Health’s story and quickly stepped in to offer his company’s help.
He said: “Reading about Raymond Blanc’s prize for one of your team made me reflect on just much we need the NHS at this time and in the future; how important the NHS is for all of us; how it must be cherished and how fragile life is.
“Our motto is ‘Every Mile in Style’ so it will be an absolute pleasure for us to make the prize even more special and memorable for your deserving winner.”