Cath Todd thought she was attending a team meeting with her operations manager, only to be presented with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Cath first joined the Society as a 26-year-old in 1991, starting at No. 21 when it was a children's residential home. Since then she has helped establish the transition to smaller, family homes, becoming registered manager of Brentwood in 2012.

She cites that transition as the highlight of her 31-year career at NEAS. "It wasn't traditional care any more. We got to know people really well and could see them change - it was a real motivator.

I've been here a long time but there are always new challenges, new training and opportunities to think of different ways to do things. I would never consider doing anything else.

Cath, who is a true crime fan, received a video message from Brenda Blethyn, the actress who plays ITV's Vera.