A selfless carer who made the momentous decision to share her life with adults in need after enduring the trauma of losing a daughter has gained a top honour at the Wales health care ‘Oscars’.

Caroline Ross Downie, 59, of Llandudno, secured a prestigious bronze accolade at the annual Wales Care Awards presented at Cardiff City Hall.

The event was hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, which runs the awards, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He praised Caroline’s achievement in having been chosen from scores of nominees from across the nation. Their names were put forward by their peers for recognition at the glittering event, affectionately known as the social care Oscars.

Mr Kreft said it was an invaluable opportunity for the social care sector to shine a much deserved spotlight on its unsung heroes and heroines.

Caroline achieved the bronze accolade in the category for Excellence in Learning Disability and Mental Health Services, sponsored by Morgan La Roche solicitors. It honours her unstinting compassion and determination to help others.

It comes only a few years after the personal heartbreak of losing her disabled daughter Kara, who Caroline and husband Ross adopted when Kara was aged 10 months.

For many years Caroline fostered young people living with disabilities but when Kara became seriously ill and died aged just 13, the family took time off from fostering for a while.

But Caroline, who has two other children Louise and Phillip, missed the chance to fulfil what she says is her lifelong vocation of caring for others.

When she felt strong enough she decided to return to full time caring, but this time she changed direction slightly by working with adults.

She is now a Shared Lives carer with PSS, which recently celebrated its centenary in the care sector and has a base in Abergele.

Shared lives offers respite, short-term breaks and live-in support for vulnerable adults and young people, in a similar way to foster care. Caroline is one of a team of specially recruited, trained carers who share their homes with young adults in need.

She was nominated for her award by the PSS Shared Lives Development Worker, Katrina Jones, who has long been impressed with Caroline’s relentless drive.

She said: “Caroline has faced many challenges but has turned these experiences into positives and uses all of her experiences to help others.”

As a child Caroline looked after her ailing mum and three younger siblings and believes it gave her an acute understanding of issues faced by people in care. Now she strives to ensure her home is a welcoming and friendly environment for all.

She currently shares it with two adults full time, one of whom she recently helped battle through cancer, and she also offers regular respite placements for about nine others.

After the award presentation Care Forum Wales chairman Mario Kreft, added : “This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

“There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that our finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“We take our hats off to them.”