Care workers who have braved the coronavirus pandemic to continue looking after some of the most vulnerable people have been recognized in the Queen's prestigious New Years Honours List 2021.

Among them were two care workers from in South West London and Surrey, including a care nurse from Esher and a healthcare assistant who supported veterans in care homes.

Charito Romano works at the Arbrook House care home in Esher.

Originally from the Philippines, she moved to the UK and works tirelessly as a carer at the assisted living home in Esher.

Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, care workers like Charito continued their essential work while most others were sheltering from the virus at home, and soon found themselves on the frontlines of the struggle with the virus as care homes were hit hard by its impact.

For those efforts she and others were recognized by the Queen for their work.

She was congratulated by among others the UK's Ambassador to the Phillipines, Daniel Pruce: 

"Many congratulations to Staff Nurse Charito Romano, from the , awarded a British Empire Medal in the #NewYearsHonours for her outstanding work at Arbrook House Care Home in the UK during the #Covid19 pandemic," he wrote on Twitter. 

Another care worker who received the honour was Emrys Owen, Lead Healthcare Assistant at Royal Star and Garter (RSG) veterans charity, who received his award for services during Covid-19.

Emrys has been with RSG since 1982, and play a key role in helping their transition from a care home in Richmond to their current location in Surbiton.

Emrys was thrilled to find out he’d been given the award.

"I’m highly delighted that someone like me could receive such an award! It’s mostly the people I have looked after over the years, the stories I have heard and the characters that I have met that makes the job so worthwhile," he said.

"I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else," Emrys added.

Andy Cole, the charity’s Chief Executive, meanwhile thanked him for his many years of service to the charity’s residents: "I’m delighted that Emrys’ dedication and hard work in support of the nation’s veterans has been acknowledged. Emrys has embodied the very best of Royal Star and Garter’s values throughout his four decades at the charity," he said.

"We are one big family at Royal Star and Garter, and I have no doubt that all the staff, residents and volunteers will be enormously proud of Emrys’ hugely well-deserved recognition."

Since the start of the pandemic, many of the 75,000+ deaths linked to Covid-19 in the UK came in care homes.

The government are now upping protections for those working in care homes to help stop the spread of the virus in the sector, and are testing all care home workers weekly for coronavirus.

Minister for Care Helen Whately said:

"Homecare workers have been doing an incredible job throughout the pandemic, caring day in and day out and going the extra mile to keep people they care for safe from COVID.

"As our testing capacity continues to expand, I’m glad we’re able to take this next step and make regular testing available to homecare workers."