A GUIDE dog owner from Henllan has scooped the top prize at a glitzy awards ceremony in London.

Louise Jenkins, owner of guide dog Trinity, was named Inspirational Guide Dog Owner of the Year at the Guide Dogs Annual Awards 2017, held at the Hurlingham Club.

Louise’s story impressed viewers of ITV This Morning, who voted her Most Inspirational from a shortlist of three. Presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield appeared on stage at the awards via a large screen as they opened a golden envelope to reveal that Louise had won.

Viewers learnt how Louise was a busy mother of two teenage daughters when, 14 years ago, her world was turned upside down.

A spinal cord infection permanently damaged her sight, causing blindness in one eye and tunnel vision in the other. Louise said: “I realised no one else was going to change anything, it was up to me.”

Getting a guide dog was as life-changing for Louise as her sight loss. She quickly returned to her independent and confident self. She retrained at university and now manages a drop-in centre in Lampeter for people with mental health needs.

As well as working full-time, she provides home care for her husband, Adrian, who has been diagnosed with vascular disease in the brain, and looks after her parents, who also have complex health needs, travelling the 160-mile journey to their home by train.

Louise was presented with her award by This Morning celebrity doctors, Dr Ranj Singh and Dr Zoe Williams. She said: “We had to go up on stage, and I stood there shaking, but the doctors were really friendly and chatty. It was an amazing night and my guide dog, Trinity, is worn out.

“I was disappointed that my husband wasn’t well enough to attend, and he really felt it too, because he wanted so much to be there.

“Our daughter, Alison, came with me instead. But we will organise a celebration meal when we get home to make it special for him. He’s part of the team as well!”

The Guide Dogs Annual Awards is a great way to raise vital funds and celebrate the work of the charity Guide Dogs and honour the passion and determination of everyone who makes its life-changing work possible.

Steve Vaid, Guide Dogs acting chief executive, said: “It is always a highlight on the calendar when we get the chance to hear heart-warming stories and celebrate the incredible achievements of the people we support and those who help support out charity’s life-changing work.

“Whether it’s getting out to meet friends, fulfilling career ambitions or helping others, Guide Dogs make sure there is enough support so that no one is left out of life because of their sight loss.”