A PHARMACIST whose friendliness and professionalism makes her a pleasure to visit is a "Health Service Hero" according to her customers.

Esther Astilleros-Smits, who works at Parkers Pharmacy in Huntington, has been nominated for the Community Pride's Health Service Hero award, sponsored by Clifton Park Hospital, which recognises the unsung heroes whose dedication to their work is second to none.

And Esther, who has been nominated by regular customer Judith Lindsey, is just that person.

"Esther is very knowledgeable, and you could not ask for anyone more helpful," Judith said.

"She is always the same - professional, knowledgeable, reassuring, and nothing is ever too much trouble for her."

Esther is particularly valuable to the older people in Huntington, Judith added, and her friendliness, thoughtfulness, and personal attention makes a real difference to them.

Judith added: "She remembers their family members, and always enquires after them, never too busy to sit down with customers to explain and simplify their medication routines."

A pharmacist for almost eight years, Esther has worked in Huntington for five years and said she loves her job because it lets her help people, and she praised the colleagues she works alongside.

Esther said: "We love our job, and we do it the best way we can. It's all about team work.

"I like being in touch with customers and being able to help them take their medication in the best way they can."

Many of her customers and patients are poorly people taking a lot of medication, Esther added, and the team at Parkers work hard to brighten their day.

"We like to make them smile and feel the best way they can."

According to customer Judith, this dedication to helping her customers and patients and going above and beyond her basic duties makes Esther a real hero of the Huntington community.

Judith added: "Esther really deserves an award because she goes far beyond her basic remit and requirement, always willing to go the extra mile. She is a friend to all in Huntington, despite being busy she makes time for us."

- Do you know a Health Service Hero? Nominations for the award are open until July 18, and we want to hear about the uncelebrated stars of the health service in York.

For more information on the Community Pride awards, sponsored by Benenden Health, or to make a nomination go to yorkpress.co.uk/pride.