STORIES of compassion and care were at the heart of an awards ceremony honouring those who have made a real difference to people in need.

From family members having to look after several of their loved ones at once to a hairdresser going above and beyond for her clients, Age UK Oxfordshire's 'Dignity in Care' Awards celebrated the work that often goes unrecognised in the community.

There were seven different award categories, which heralded the contribution of a care worker, organisation or service or an unpaid carer for the selfless work they do.

Viv Tayler nominated his partner of 26 years, Marlene Drewett, for the care she not only gives him but also her sister, Valerie.

The 87-year-old, who has mobility issues, said: "She is remarkable, she is not only looking after me but also her sister who suffered a stroke several years ago.

"Every night she goes over to her sister's to make sure she is cared for and looked after.

"She takes three different buses just to get to her, it is remarkable.

"And on top of all that I have mobility issues and she then takes care of me in the day."

Ms Drewett, a retired care worker, said she was completely surprised and delighted over the nomination, which saw her take home an award in the 'Unpaid Carer or Volunteer Worker' category.

The 67-year-old said: "I love them both and I want to do all I can for them.

"I suppose my career in the caring industry has helped and prepared me for looking after my sister.

"The last thing she wants is to be put into a home but because we cannot get carers for the night, I have to take over.

"But she is my sister, of course I would do that for her."

During September the Oxford Mail shared stories of previous winners and encouraged nominations for this year's awards.

The team at the Rosewood Club at Daybreak, in Greater Leys, said they were honoured to have been awarded the 'Care or Support Setting' prize.

Organiser Julie Perks said: "It is just wonderful.

"We did not think we would have any chance of winning, so it was a complete surprise.

"We are open five days a week, providing care and support for people with dementia.

"We like to get to know them on an individual level so we can be there for them as much as possible."

The ceremony on Friday at the King's Centre in Osney Mead, West Oxford, was also attended by Oxfordshire's Lord Lieutenant, Tim Stevenson.

He said: "It is always the greatest of pleasures to do an event like this.

"To have the opportunity to present awards to individuals who have gone out of their way to improve the lives of other people and who in doing so give people real, meaningful care is wonderful.

"I hope that others will follow in their footsteps and continue to make such an extraordinary difference to people's lives in Oxfordshire."