MECHANICAL moggies and a pretend puppy are helping to improve lives for residents at an award winning Holyhead care home.

The innovative lifelike battery operated pets have proved a big hit with residents at the Gwyddfor residential home in the town.

It has been thinking outside the 'litter' box which has helped Mary Williams, who runs the home, win a gold at the Wales Care Awards.

Mary, who is a mum of three, and from Llanerchymedd, won the award for excellence in Dementia Care at a ceremony at the City Hall in Cardiff.

“We are always looking for new treatments, we are always looking outside the box,” said Mary.

At the residential home, there is even a bar which serves proper pints to residents.

“Our residents like nothing better than to enjoy a drink at the end of the day!” Mary said.

Gwyddfor, which looks after 27 residents, with 11 of them suffering from dementia, has six of the furry felines, and has recently taken on a robotic puppy.

Mary said. “They are beautiful little things, just like real cats, they even purr. We’ve named four of them Snowy, Amber, Ginger and Goldilocks, and we’ll have another naming day soon.

"All our residents love them. They are very therapeutic for all our residents, not just those suffering from dementia.”

Mary, who is 55, was nominated by husband Glyn for the award. She entered the care sector in 1981, training on the island of Uist in the Outer Hebrides, where she was brought up.

She married Glyn in 1982 when he was in the RAF and followed him around the world working in care homes and the couple bought Gwyddfor after he retired in 2004.

At the presentation, the award was made by Ana Palazan, director for Wales, Parkinson’s UK Cymru.

Mary said: “It was a fantastic night. I couldn’t believe it when I was named winner of the gold award. For once in my life I was speechless.

“You have to be very patient with dementia sufferers, but once you get to know them properly there is an amazing transformation." said Mary.

Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales. We take our hats off to them."

In 2014 the home also won the Research Capability Funding - dementia project award.