A courageous woman’s inspirational battle against cancer has earned her the Keighley News Mum of the Year crown.

Despite her gruelling ordeal, 53-year-old Julie Dunford, of Keighley, has remained positive and put others first.

She was diagnosed with bowel cancer three years ago, and after extensive treatment – including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery – was told last year she was in remission.

But just before Christmas, scans revealed she had secondary cancer in both her lungs.

Treatment will begin shortly, with an operation due to be carried out on her left lung.

She was nominated for the Mum of the Year title by her daughter, Lee-anne Harvey, of Cliffe Terrace in Spring Bank.

“She has taken everything in her stride and never moaned once,” said the 27-year-old sales assistant.

“I am so proud of her. She cares more for others and worries about everyone else before herself.

“She loves my daughter, Paige, who is eight, and wants to be here for her grandchild.

“I want my mum to know how much she is loved and what an inspiration she is to so many people.”

Miss Dunford said it was a “lovely surprise” to win the competition prizes.

“People say to me they can’t believe how well I’m coping with the cancer, but I just take every day as it comes,” she told us.

“You’ve got to stay positive, and there are people who are worse off than me.

“Don’t get me wrong, I do have my moments, but my partner John [Loughran] and Lee-anne have been fantastic. They have stood by me.”

Miss Dunford’s bowel cancer was discovered after she had been losing weight, suffering pain when going to the toilet and bleeding.

She underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy at St James’s Hospital in Leeds and surgery at Airedale Hospital.

The nodules in her lungs were then diagnosed after a routine yearly scan.

“Fortunately, they have found those very, very early,” she said.

“The hospital teams have been absolutely fantastic – the care has been 100 per cent. I can’t thank them enough for what they have done and what they’re doing.”

As her prize in the competition, Miss Dunford received a package of goodies courtesy of Keighley’s Airedale Shopping Centre, including a bottle of Gucci Premiere perfume from The Fragrance Shop, a spring/summer scarf from Dorothy Perkins, a WH Smith personal organiser, Mother’s Day confectionery from Marks & Spencer, a Coffee Delight coffee and muffin voucher, a Next gift set worth £20, a Thorntons box of chocolates and a free parking voucher for the centre.

She was also awarded a meal for two at Shimla Spice in Keighley.

Keighley News editor Richard Parker said: “We had a number of outstanding entries in the Mum of the Year competition, which illustrated just why mothers are so special, and we would like to thank everyone who took part.

“Julie’s story is truly inspirational, and she is an extremely worthy winner. We wish her and her family all the very best as she continues her courageous battle against cancer.”