TWO PEOPLE whose lives were changed forever by horrific car crashes – but who decided to use their experiences to help others are up for a national award. Candy Hodge from Perry decided she was being selfish after caring for her injured son, Clive, for

Nick Bennett, injured in a car crash at 17

TWO PEOPLE whose lives were changed forever by horrific car crashes - but who decided to use their experiences to help others are up for a national award.

Candy Hodge from Perry decided she was being "selfish" after caring for her injured son, Clive, for years and not sharing the experience with other people whom she might be able to help.

She told The Hunts Post: "I didn't go to a support group. I thought like a lot of people, I'm all right, I can get through this. Then I got through one day and I thought, I am being selfish really, because we have been through so much with Clive, I have taken so much on board. I felt I should be there to help other people."

Candy, 59, joined the carers support group at Headway, the UK brain injury association, six years ago. She organises social events, the monthly meetings and is always on the end of the phone for anyone who wants advice or just a listening ear.

Candy is one of three people shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year in Headway's national awards.

Her son, Clive, was 21 when the car he was driving crashed and he was in a coma for eight months. Clive is now 34, needs 24-hour care and is in a wheelchair. But Candy said: "He still has his sense of humour, and it's a wicked sense of humour."

She and her husband, Brian, Clive's stepfather, looked after him for the first five years after the accident without any respite care.

"There wasn't any respite care to be had. This experience has made me so much stronger because you learn that you have to fight for everything."

Nick Bennett, 24, from Papworth Everard, is one of three finalists across the UK for the charity's Campaigner of the Year Award.

When Nick was 17, he was a self-confessed boyracer. Early one morning on his way to work, Nick overtook two cars and collided with a three-tonne lorry. He was in intensive care for 10 months. He now uses a wheelchair and has severely affected mobility and speech.

Now he dedicates his time to warning other young people about the dangers of reckless driving. He goes into schools and says: Don't end up like me.

He said: "I couldn't believe that I was getting an award because all I do is go into schools and talk about brain injury. It's an honour to be representing Headway because they have done a lot to help me."

In August this year, Nick and two other fundraisers, his friends, Emma and Judy Wilson from Bluntisham raised £8,000 for Magpas, the medics emergency charity, with a skydive, including a donation of £1,500 from Huntingdon Hinchingbrooke Rotary Club. After the dive, Nick said: "The jump was amazing. When you start to fall, you feel weightless. It was an incredible experience."

A Magpas emergency team had kept Nick alive at the roadside after his accident. The Headway Volunteer of The Year and Campaigner of the Year will be named at a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London on December 13.