A BENFLEET woman suffering from a debilitating condition is celebrating after the dog that transformed her life won an award at Crufts.

Lucy Watts, 20, is battling with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a rare tissue disorder which has left her wheelchair bound since she was 14.

Her cocker spaniel, Molly, was named the 2014 winner of the Crufts’ Friends for Life award.

One-year-old Molly, who helps Lucy, of Swans Green Close, with daily tasks, beat off stiff competition from four other finalists to be named the winner at the ceremony at Birmingham’s NEC on Sunday.

Lucy said: “It felt amazing. It’s just the best thing.

“I did not expect to win because the competition was so high, but it’s an honour, and it was also nice for Molly to be recognised for what she has done for me.”

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is caused by a defect in the body’s collagen, has made life difficult for Lucy who said she felt isolated and withdrawn before she met Molly in March last year.

The condition means Lucy struggles with dressing, sitting unaided, and she has to be fed through a tube. Since adopting Molly, Lucy says her life has changed for the better.

She said: “She makes me push myself and she’s given me the confidence to do things like leave my house. She’s just really given me a reason to live.”

Molly, who is being trained by charity Dog AID to become an assistance dog, has helped Lucy increase her independence and helps her with day-to-day tasks ,such as pulling up her socks and alerting someone when Lucy gets ill.

Lucy added: “Molly is the best companion, best friend, best dog, and I don’t think I could ever replace her. She is my life and I am hers.”