Prize-winning chef is a model of good healthBy Julie Spencer
January 10, 2011
Super keen chef Richard Powell scooped a £10,000 award – for not taking a day off sick for four years.
The nursery school cook thought colleagues were pulling his leg when he got the call from bosses.
“I was speechless – I thought it was a joke,” he said.
“We all knew the company was running the incentive scheme but I didn’t think I had a hope in a million.”
Richard, who is married to Louise, a nurse at Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, works at Pennypot Day Nursery in Chobham.
Now the couple are planning to update their kitchen and have bought a second hand car.
The 31-year-old chef has not taken a day off sick since 2006 when he started work at the nursery. He also clocked up a 100 per cent attendance rate over a six-month period to win the award.
Richard, of Great Hollands, Bracknell, puts his good health down to good food and luck.
He said: “We eat good food every day and I think that really helps. My motto is that if you are well enough to get into a car and drive you are well enough to go to work.”
Richard’s love of good food is being passed on to the 78 children and staff he cooks for every day at the nursery.
“I make proper food like casseroles, cottage pies and curries and the children all seem to love it,” he said.
The blizzards last winter threatened to damage his record attendance figures but he took a day’s leave when he was snowed in.
“I was outside with a shovel trying to dig my car out of the snow.
“I knew I could get there if I could get on to the main road but I just couldn’t dig the car out. I took a day’s holiday instead.”
Richard’s employer Childbase brought in its Attendance Scheme this year to flag up how absenteeism can impact on business.
Mike Thompson, Childbase chief executive, presented Richard with his cheque at the end of November.
Mr Thompson said: “It’s wonderful to have members of our team like Richard who are such an inspiration to others and we’re sure he’ll continue to retain his exemplary attendance record and continue to cook delicious food for our children every day.”
Richard, dad to three-and-a-half year old Holly and Joshua, aged six months, declared he was “over the moon” with his award.
“Louise is a fantastic cook, better than me so we are going to do up the kitchen and a fair bit has gone towards a second hand car.
“It’s a great Christmas present for our family.”
The average UK worker took 6.4 sick days last year, a total of 180 million sick days, at a cost to the economy of £16.8m.