COLLEEN Kelly received a runner-up award from double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell at a ceremony celebrating the Carer of the Year and organised by brain injury charity Headway.

The ceremony took place at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Friday, where Colleen was one of three finalists in contention for the award, sponsored by SweetTree Home Care Services.

The mother-of-two had just qualified as a carer and bought a house with her partner Andrew Cuthbertson, when he was involved in a devastating motorcycle accident which left him with a traumatic brain injury as well as a broken back and severe nerve damage in his neck.

This was five years ago, and overnight Andrew went from being a hard-working scaffolder and hands-on dad, to relying entirely on Colleen for his care, having forgotten the past ten years of his life.

He remained in a coma for around eight weeks and spent a year in hospital, where Colleen, 31, from south Swindon, visited him daily.

Colleen has also been forced to give up her dreams of marrying Andrew, as he does not have the capacity to remember committing himself to his wedding vows, but she has cared for Andrew and her two children, Corey, 11 and Lorcaan, aged five, ever since.

Throughout all the upheaval, Colleen and Andrew have been supported by Headway Swindon - a charity which provides brain injury survivors and their loved ones with support.

Sonia de Blaquiere, service development manager, nominated Colleen for the Carer of the Year Award.

"Colleen has worked tirelessly to support her family without a second thought for herself," she said.

"She has put aside her own loss, devastation and dream of getting married to care for her family. She is a wonderful woman."