A YOUNG woman whose life has been transformed by a riding for the disabled group has won a prestigious accolade.

Lucy Hargreaves, 20, has scooped the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) National Volunteer of the Year Award, at a regional level.

Her parents were warned when Lucy was a young child that she was unlikely to ever walk.

But she defied all the odds and since starting to ride at Haworth RDA, hasn't looked back.

She has competed in national events and Special Olympics, picking-up medals, and is now helping other disabled young people to ride.

"We are so very proud of Lucy’s achievements and how far she has come," said Jackie Butterfield, founder of Haworth RDA.

"When we go away to competitions she keeps us all organised!"

Tribute is also paid by Tierney Priestley, who works with the group's after-school club which Lucy volunteers at.

"Lucy is really helpful at the club," she said. "She's especially good at helping her friend Sophie, who is wheelchair bound."

When she was born, Lucy had several additional needs and the prognosis wasn't good.

"We were told the chance of her walking was very slim so we prepared ourselves – filling our house with the necessary adapted seats and standing frames to aid her," said dad Paul.

"But after two years of intense physiotherapy three times a week Lucy took a couple of unaided steps just after her second birthday. We knew then she was made of great things and would succeed in whatever she decided to do."

Lucy started attending Saturday riding sessions at Haworth RDA, and loved it.

But in 2011 she was diagnosed with meningitis and while undergoing treatment, it was discovered she had a large hole in her heart.

"After getting through the meningitis treatment she underwent open heart surgery to repair both valves and mend the large hole," said Paul.

"Following the surgery and after just three months, Lucy was back in the saddle and that year went on to win two golds at the British Special Olympics at Hartpury.

"The time she has been involved with Haworth RDA has been amazing for Lucy and for us as a family.

"She has gained more confidence and truly feels at home there.

"Jackie and her amazing team have a great way of making sure everyone feels safe and secure and they encourage everybody to be the best they can, and for that we will always be thankful."