TWO community champions who have dedicated years to helping others have been handed British Citizen Awards.

Judith Wood, 69, and Terence Yates, 72, were both handed the honour this month in the national awards which shine a spotlight on ‘everyday people’ who benefit their community.

Ms Wood, who lives in Littleworth near Faringdon, is the senior sight advisor and counsellor at Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB).

She lost her sight following an accident in 1973 at just 24 years old, at a time when there were no specialist support or counselling services.

Since then, she has tirelessly worked to make sure nobody else with visual impairments can slip through the net.

In 25 years she has established a full-time sight advisory service at Oxford Eye Hospital, as well as the country’s only specialist counselling service for people affected by sight loss.

Receiving her BCA she said: “I am absolutely blown away.

“As a psychologist and counsellor I love my job and now being totally blind it has been my saviour too to help others.

"I am very proud and I still can’t believe it.”

The BCA was not the only award Ms Wood won in the past month: she also picked up a BBC Radio 4 ‘All in the Mind’ award in the professional category – one of three winners chosen out of more than 1,000 nominations.

Nathan Tree, 29, from Wheatley, nominated Ms Wood for the mental health prize after she helped him come to terms with his sight loss.

He said: “I have gone through a complete transformation.

“I have completed two triathlons, got a new job, started my masters degree and been to Canada to play blind ice hockey, all of which would not have been possible without her help.”

He said he could ‘never thank Ms Wood enough’ for ‘giving him his life back’.

Mental health campaigner Marion Janner announced the win at a ceremony in London on June 25.

She said: “The winner is somebody who exemplifies what is wonderful about the best professionals which is that, in themselves, they are inspiring role models and they are able to see what we can do – our skills, our talents, our dreams.”

Mr Yates, from Wheatley, won his BCA for serving his community for three decades as an entertainer hosting charity events.

In 30 years he has raised £6,000 for Sobell House Hospice in Oxford and Macmillan Cancer Support following the death of his wife Anne who was cared for by both.

Mr Wood also suffered a heart attack while taking part in a fundraising fishing competition in 2017 but is still planning fundraising events.

He said: “Community and communication equals a better quality of life.

“We don’t need to be rich or lead a lavish lifestyle, just having friends and family can make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.

“It’s very difficult to put a figure on the amount I’ve raised over the years, as I have done it without looking for recognition, so didn’t keep a count.

“I am sure my dear wife Anne will be looking down on me with a huge beaming smile when I get presented with my medal.”

Both Ms Wood and Mr Yates were handed their awards at a ceremony on July 5 at the palace of Westminster.

The winning Oxfordshire pair were two of just 29 people to be recognised in the awards, set up in 2015 to recognise ‘exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society’.