A reformed alcoholic who pioneered a Bradford Drugs service has been voted Yorkshire Woman of the Year by people across the region.

Yvonne Oliver battled her own addiction to set up the Ripple Drugs Services in Buttershaw almost seven years ago after her two children became hooked on heroin.

The 51-year-old mum, who has helped people to conquer addiction and rebuild their lives through Ripple, was honoured yesterday when she scooped the gong in the Heart of Yorkshire Awards, run by the Variety Club of Great Britain and the BBC in Yorkshire, to celebrate the county's unsung heroes.

Mrs Oliver joined the Bradford Bulls skipper Robbie Paul and coach Brian Noble, who picked up the Sports Award on behalf of the Bulls, and Ilkley writer Jilly Cooper OBE, who scooped the 2004 Media Award at a presentation in York yesterday.

Mrs Oliver said: "I am thrilled to bits to get this but it's also great for Bradford. There are lots of good people in Bradford who are all working hard together trying to do something to combat drugs because we love Bradford and we want to claim our city back from this epidemic.

"I am not special. All that happened was that I got sick and tired of my addiction and I went into treatment and did something about it. And I realised that you can have a great life if you help other people around you instead of being self-centred and self-serving.

"I want people to do even greater things than I have done. I want people to achieve their full potential and to bring out the creativity in people. I would like to recommend a client of mine in a few years for the same award."

Mrs Oliver, of Laisterdyke, gained a degree in Communications and Public Media and a Masters in Managing Change and had become a radio producer after undergoing treatment in 1983.

But she was prompted to take a job as a community worker in Buttershaw when her two children became hooked on heroin.

The mum single-handedly opened Ripple in 1998 to treat the effects of drug misuse on users and the wider community and the project now boasts 60 workers with a client base of 2,000 and a turnover of £1.4 million.

Mrs Oliver was congratulated by veteran actress Maureen Lipman as she stepped down from the stage after receiving her award.

The Bradford Bulls won the award for their outstanding sporting achievements in winning the Grand Final, the Super League title, Challenge Cup and the World Club Challenge over the past two years.

Bulls' spokesman Stuart Duffy said: "We are absolutely delighted to be honoured by the Variety Club of Great Britain and by the public to be recognised for our achievements last year in winning all four competitions available to us."

The awards were held in the run-up to Yorkshire Day tomorrow.

Variety Club of Great Britain events organiser David Haycox praised all the winners in the Heart of Yorkshire awards, which raised more than £350,000 for disadvantaged and disabled children in the area.

"The awards were held for the very first time last year and have already won a special place in the hearts of Yorkshire folk," he said. "We are already planning next year's Heart of Yorkshire awards and are determined to raise even more money to ensure that disadvantaged and disabled children across the region continue to receive our ongoing support."

BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration added: "As a Yorkshireman with a real pride in the place I come from, it's good to acknowledge the people whose service to the community is above and beyond the call of duty, and sometimes, it's not even a duty.

"It's always said that Yorkshire folk are the most kind-hearted. I think these awards confirm that."