A WIDNES pharmacist has beaten chemists across the UK to receive a prestigious award.

Jackie Patel of Cookes Pharmacy in Albert Road has won the Alphega Pharmacy UK National Award for her contribution to community pharmacy.

She has received £5,000 to invest in her business, which employs 11 staff.

Her unique chemist offers customers fresh fruit and vegetables as well as pills and potions.

Sue Moore, general manager of Alphega Pharmacy UK, said: “Jackie has the attitude, energy, drive and an ability to think outside the box, which has helped them to increase their mystery shopper scores substantially.

“They have made it very easy for their community to access fresh, seasonable and affordable produce in their pharmacy by offering a pick-up point for locally sourced products.

“They are clearly entrepreneurs in their community.”

Mum-of-two Jackie, aged 42, from Hough Green, a pharmacist for 16 years, said: “We offer a personal touch. It is the face to face contact with the public that makes me enjoy the job so much.

“We are one of the oldest established independent pharmacies in Widnes. This chemist has been here for more than 60 years and many of our employees have worked here for a long time.

“We have lots of regular customers and we get to know them.”

Jackie, whose husband, Suketu, is a pharmacist at Widnes Late Night Pharmacy in Beaconsfield, is keen to encourage people seek help as soon as they feel unwell.

She added: “We have a very wide knowledge of every ailment from a to z and are experts on medicines.

“We deal with issues people have there and then.

“Sometimes people don’t know how serious their condition is. We can direct them to the right place and the right service.”