A CHESHIRE librarian who has been helping visitors for more than 40 years has been hailed as a Local Service Champion.

Union Unison had highlighted Jenny Evans, who works as a senior customer representative in Frodsham Library, as a nominee in their first Local Service Champions awards before Covid-19 hit.

Now Unison has championed her as the overall winner nationally.

Council workers including refuse workers, care assistants, trading standards officers, environmental health inspectors, youth workers, librarians, cleaners, administrators – and so many more – were nominated in the awards.

Jenny has worked in libraries for 40 years.

In a short film for Unison filmed in 2019, she said: “I started at 16, and was taken on permanently in October 1979, and I haven’t stopped working. I still have that buzz and enthusiasm, and I just want everyone else to have that.”

Her colleague Sandra Evans, who nominated her, said: “Jenny is a champion of the community. She has transformed the library into the community hub it was meant to be.

"She has read stories to generations of children who now bring their own children to story time. She focuses and adapts services available when possible to provide essential help to the public. And when we can’t help, she always knows someone who can.”

Jenny, who as her prize has won a three-night stay at Croyde Bay, said: “I’m only doing my job, which is what I’ve always done, and hope to continue to do.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Jenny is a true public servant. Her inspiring story is a testament to the dedication of so many local authority workers, who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

“Council workers have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic, keeping vital local services running, often putting themselves and their families at risk. The role they play in keeping us safe, healthy and cared for must be celebrated – but also fairly rewarded.

“Council staff play a fundamental role in all of our lives but because the work they do isn’t always as visible, they are too often overlooked. To cheat them of a fair pay rise would totally lack integrity.

“We owe our local service champions a huge debt. It’s high time this was reflected in government pay policy.”

Unison is campaigning for a 10 per cent pay rise for local government workers. This would pull the lowest paid workers to above £10 per hour – ​lifting them above the ​real ​living ​wage of £9.50 per hour (outside London).