A "remarkable" care home chef slept in its day centre for nearly a month to ensure residents' safety and the perfect Christmas.

Caroline Lloyd, from Felixstowe, only opened her presents from under the tree this week after living at Prince George House, in Ipswich, since the middle of December.

The 35-year-old had moved into the Mansbrook Boulevard home on Sunday, December 12, to avoid coming into contact with a family member who had tested positive for Covid.

"I knew I couldn’t risk coming into contact with them," Miss Lloyd explained. "Luckily, they hadn’t been home for a few days but they were going to be in the house for Christmas.

"I wanted to make sure that my team and the residents we support were safe and could have their Christmas dinner as planned so moving out seemed like the best option. Luckily my manager Jennie agreed I could camp out in the day centre.

"I’m so glad I did because just before Christmas as my second chef tested positive and had to stay off work. We’re a small team and it wouldn’t have been easy to find a relief chef at that time of year.

"I’m not quite sure how we did it but on Christmas day, with my one remaining team member – a kitchen assistant - we cooked a full Christmas meal for 120 people. That was for 76 residents and the rest of the home team."

“I was able to go home last Sunday and be with my family.

"They had been so understanding about the fact that I couldn’t spend Christmas with them.

"We had some good old Suffolk food - stew and dumplings for dinner - and opened our Christmas presents and then I enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep in my own bed.”

Her twin sister Helen Burgess said Miss Lloyd could have stayed with her but she is just so "kind and loving".

Ms Burgess said: "She is so remarkable, very loving and caring.

"She wanted, first of all, to keep the residents safe and to be there for staff as they're like a family and she didn't want to worry about them."

Miss Lloyd has been at the home for nine years, starting out in the care home kitchens before being promoted to head chef six years ago.

"Prince George House is like one big loving family," she said. "I really enjoy being able to interact with the residents and seeing how much my home cooking means to them. That plus having this wonderful group of colleagues who I work with is all the motivation I need.