A MUM from Witney who struggled with drug addiction and abuse as a teenager before turning her life around to become a successful business owner has been shortlisted for a national award.

Grace Prestidge, who owns The Little Beautique, in Langdale Court, has been nominated for The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award at this year’s Pride of Britain Awards.

The 24-year-old thanked the Trust for helping get where she is today.

She said: "I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to tell me I had been shortlisted for The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award. It is such an honour."

As a teenager, Miss Prestidge began hanging around with a bad crowd. She started taking drugs and missing lessons at Burford School, eventually leaving home and education altogether at the age of 15.

She said: “It’s weird to think about my life back then. Clients that I have now find it really weird to hear about. They can’t imagine me being like that because I’m now completely different.

“It seems like ages ago but really it was only a few years.”

She moved into a hostel in Chipping Norton and where her drug habit continued.She said: “My drug taking just got worse. A friend of mine living with me in the hostel actually died of a drug overdose.”

A turning point arrived in Miss Prestidge's life when she became pregnant to drug dealer boyfriend. She left the hostel, moved back in with her parents and went back to college.

She continued: "I got clean. It gave me the kick up the bum I needed to move away from that situation and gave me somebody else to think about rather than just myself."

Miss Prestidge studied beauty at Abingdon and Witney College, but after completing her course she was unemployed and didn’t know where to turn.

After meeting with a member of the Princes Trust, she was placed on an 'explore enterprise course' and given her own business mentor who helped her start her own business.

Starting off providing beauty therapy at home, it wasn’t long before Miss Prestidge, who last year picked up the trust's national entrepreneurial award, took a business plan to the bank and acquired a loan to open up her very own salon.

She said: “I was really excited. We started off with one other girl and myself. Now we have four girls and we’re doing really well. I want to open our second business soon.

“We now have waiting lists on weekends because we’re always fully booked. It’s really good. Back when I was in the hostel I couldn’t even imagine being employed.”

To people in the same situation as her teenage self, Miss Prestidge said: "It isn't worth losing friends and family over and it's never too late to get out of that situation. You can still be successful even if you haven't got any qualifications."

Miss Pretidge, whose son is now six, is one of five finalists for the award.

The winner will be invited to receive their award at a star-studded event recorded in London on Monday and broadcast the next day on ITV.