MBE honour for Rhyl care pioneer

A PLACE on the Queen’s honours list has come like a “delightful bolt from the blue” for a social care pioneer.

Mario Kreft, from Rhyl, is the proprietor of the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation. The honorary chief executive of Care Forum Wales has been awarded an MBE for his services to social care.

Mr Kreft said: “I think the MBE is recognition of the huge contribution of social care in communities right across Wales, including the teams at Care Forum Wales and Pendine Park.

“It’s a huge team approach and a reward for all the work we’ve been doing together over the years to raise standards in social care and to promote the profession of social care.”

Mr Kreft, 54, is the son of a circus bear tamer Franz Kreft, who came to Britain as a refugee from Slovenia after the Second World War and later married Mario’s mother, Pamela.

He was christened in a circus tent in the South African city of Port Elizabeth and raised by his grandparents, Fred and Rene Warburton, who retired to Trefnant, near Denbigh, after selling their business, the former Pen-y-Don Hotel on Rhyl promenade.

Mr Kreft and his wife Gill were inspired by their own personal experience to establish Pendine Park in 1985.

They both had elderly grandparents who needed care and the places they went to see didn’t match their requirements, so they set up their own “family care home”.

Mr Kreft is now one of the leading figures in the care sector in Wales and is the founder and honorary chief executive of the representative body Care Forum Wales.

For eight years, he was a Government-appointed member of the Care Council for Wales and previously served for seven years on the Central Council for Training and Education in Social Work.

Among Mr Kreft’s proudest achievements are the creation of the Wales Care Awards to recognise the contribution of staff and setting up a successful pilot project with the aim of developing a professional body for social care workers, the Academy of Care Practitioners Cymru.

He has also been named as one of the 50 most influential people in social care in the UK by the magazine Caring Business.