May's star of the month is Marina Benton, restaurant supervisor at gastropub the Country Girl in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Nominated by the pub's owner Tim Churchman, Marina went beyond the call of duty when Churchman was involved in a serious car crash and was forced to take time off work to recover.
Why did you nominate Marina?
Tim Churchman She's been with me for four years, and is basically a little star. I'm very hands-on at the pub but after the crash Marina delivered papers to my home after work, kept paperwork up to date, drove me to the pub and ensured that the customers were looked after while I was away. Before the bank holiday she even jet-washed the patio, rubbed down the tables and teak-oiled them, knowing it was important that the outside area looked nice. She's a single mum with two kids but even arranged cover for the kids so she could come in and look after our busiest night on Wednesdays. She's a key part of the team and I'm really chuffed for her, she really deserves this award.
How does it feel to win star of the month?
Marina Benton It's made my day. I was really pleased when Tim told me I'd been nominated last week but didn't think any more about it. Even when he said he had good news, I didn't twig, but now I'm jumping up and down and a bit teary. To be honest, though, I don't think I've really done anything special. I just enjoy going into work. It's like a second home for me.
Why do you think you were nominated?
MB I just thought he was under a lot of pressure with the crash and he's a very hands-on boss and a bit of a stress bunny, so I told him not to worry about the pub and that we would look after it. We're a fab team and everyone here pulls together to help do what they can. Washing the patio I just thought was fun - I got given a glass of red wine and a couple of hours in the sun and enjoyed the fresh air.
What drives you to be so dedicated?
MB I love my job and that's half the battle. I don't think of myself as dedicated, I just want to do the best I can at everything I do. Tim's the kind of boss who would never ask anything of us that he wasn't prepared to do himself. It's just that, at the moment, with his injuries, he needs a little bit of extra help. It helps that all the staff and customers are also all so nice.
What will you do with the money?
MB I haven't been abroad for 11 years because of my kids and work commitments, so I'd like to grab a holiday in the sun. Also just yesterday I watched a TV programme about a 74-year-old woman in Mombasa who runs an orphanage for kids with HIV. She's totally dependent on donations and it really touched me that she'd given up everything to help these kids, so I want to send some of the £500 to her. And of course I'll also be buying all my friends at work a drink.
To nominate someone for this award www.caterersearch.com/starofthemonth