JOYCE Butters says that her labour of love can be hard work, but she never considers it a job.
The 63-year-old has looked after her son, Paul, 42, who has profound learning disabilities, for his whole life.
Despite being physically disabled herself – she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis – she never grumbles.
Now Mrs Butters, of Belsay Avenue, South Shields, has been nominated as a Carer of the Year contender in the Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
She was nominated by Louise Bradshaw, a service development manager for adult social care at South Tyneside Council.
She said: “Joyce is a full-time carer to her son who has profound learning disabilities.
“She herself is also physically disabled and has to walk with two sticks.
“On top of all of this, Joyce is my co-chairman for the Carers’ Strategy Group and takes time to be on the frontline and be actively involved in the development and transformation of services for carers here.
“Joyce is an example to us all and is well-regarded in our community and is also an active member of the established Jack Health Club for the mentally handicapped, which is based at Chuter Ede Community Centre.”
Mum-of-three Mrs Butters, who is married to Bill, 66, works with the Carers’ Strategy Group in the hope of bringing people together and making life easier for those involved.
Mrs Butters said: “Sometimes it’s hard but, at the end of the day, I never really consider myself a carer because Paul is my son.
“I was really shocked when I heard I was nominated for this award.
“I really didn’t expect it, but I’m really pleased.
“It’s nice to be thought of in that way and it’s nice to be recognised.
“There are a lot of carers out there who people don’t know about because they don’t go along to support groups or anything, but recently we’ve seen a lot more people coming forward.
“I think it’s nice for other carers to see that the kind of thing they do is recognised like this.
“I’m very grateful.”