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Clean sweep for Jean at awards ceremony as she outshines the competition

By Victoria O'Hara

An Ulster woman who works at Queen's University has sparkled at an awards ceremony after being crowned 'Cleaner of the Year 2007'.

Jean O'Goan, from Ballynahinch, Co Down, scooped the title from the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) after judges were impressed with her ability to keep the university shining.

A cleaner at Queen's for over 20 years, Jean beat off competition from over 100 applications from education, health and private organisations throughout Northern Ireland.

Speaking about her award she said: "I have been working at Queen's for 23 years now and take pride in helping keep such beautiful buildings looking well.

"I'm so surprised to have won this award and would like to thank my colleagues at Queen's for nominating me."

Jean was presented with a trophy, certificate and cheque at Parliament Buildings yesterday by Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Bernie Kelly.

Speaking about Jean's win, Stan Atkins, general manager of BICSc in the UK, who was at Stormont to oversee the annual event, said: "The reason behind this competition is to recognise professionalism in the industry and raise the profile of cleaning as a career.

"It is great to see someone with such long and dedicated service winning this year's award."

Jean has worked as a cleaner in 1-3 University Square, Belfast, since she began at Queen's. The building currently houses the School of English and the Head of School, John Thompson, was interviewed by the judges as part of the competition.

Jean said the part of the job she enjoys the most are her workmates.

"The people I work with make me look forward to coming into Queen's every day," she said.

Keith Halliday, the university's estates manager for cleaning services, who nominated Jean said: "This award is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication that Jean has shown to the university.

"It is also a great reflection on the cleaning team as a whole.

"Although you do not need to have an accredited cleaning qualification to enter the competition, Jean and all the other in-house cleaners are now qualified to BICSc standards, something that Carole Clarke, the supervisor and training manager and myself are very proud of."


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