Sanctuary Care staff wow in this year’s Christmas Cake Competition


The culinary creativity of Sanctuary Care staff has once again wowed the judges in this year’s Christmas Cake Competition.

Now in its 10th year, the contest tasks staff from Sanctuary Care’s homes across the country to make a traditional fruit Christmas cake, iced to their own unique design. The cakes are carefully transported to its Worcester offices, where they are sampled by a panel of judges.

The winning creation was a stunning scene with Santa, sat at a beautifully dressed table tucking into Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, made by care assistant Dee Pickering from Ivydene Residential and Nursing Home in Ivybridge, Plymouth. This cake also scooped the Sanctuary staff vote for best design.

Speaking about the win Dee said: “I was over the moon and shocked – especially as I came third last year! It took me three attempts to do the tree as it was so tall it kept leaning to the side. I don’t like to give up and wouldn’t stop until it was perfect so I am so glad it paid off in the end.”

Dee is a self-taught baker, perfecting her skills with videos on You Tube. She added: “I bought the cake into Ivydene to show the residents before the judging and they loved it, so it will be a lovely treat for them to have on Christmas Day!”

Coming in close second place was an intricately decorated house covered in snow, created by regional maintenance operative Tony Kirby, representing The Beeches Residential Care Home in Birmingham.

Tony said: “I was chuffed to bits to come second as it is the first time I’ve ever made a Christmas cake for a competition before. Considering I am not a cook or a chef I am really happy to have achieved second place in a national final like this.”

In third place was a cake made by a talented duo from Orchard House Residential Care Home in Sawston, Cambridgeshire – catering manager Sue Kelly and kitchen assistant Megan Annis.

Sue, who baked the cake said: “We were absolutely delighted to come third – our residents absolutely loved the cake!”

Megan, who designed and decorated it added: “I was so happy and surprised as it is only the second time we have entered.”

Speaking about the competition Sanctuary Care’s Director of Operations, Sheila O’Connor said: “This is my first year as a judge and I am overwhelmed at the incredibly talented staff we have, many of whom are not even in catering roles. All of our bakers should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved. The time, patience, creativity and skill that went into some of these creations is outstanding.”

The prestigious contest is open to the teams at Sanctuary Care’s homes across the country. The cakes were judged on presentation, skill, creativity and of course taste.

The 10th annual competition has been perfectly timed, as it marks the beginning of Sanctuary Care’s 20 year anniversary of delivering care.


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