WEST Dorset farmer Judi James has been handed the keys to a transformed lifestyle after being crowned UK Worker of the Year.

Judi, who is 53 and from Littlebredy, was voted the winner of the 2013 national competition by the audience in a ceremony last year and chose a Suzuki Swift as her prize.

She impressed the audience with her passion and commitment towards her job after they heard she had set up her own RSPCA Freedom Foods veal production unit alongside her farming duties.

Judi only began farming aged 47 and has gradually become more involved in the agriculture sector.

Her aim is to own her own farm where she can live and work simultaneously.

She said: “The competition is a lot more than winning a car or a motorbike. The title of UK Worker of the Year means so much to me and I’ll always cherish winning.

“Thank you to Dickies for this opportunity and to Suzuki for upgrading the car to the 4x4 model, which is perfect for my lifestyle and will help with my day-to-day farming work.

“The future looks very bright thanks to the boost I have been given by the UK Worker of The Year competition.”

Judi collected the car from the Lanehouse Suzuki dealership in Weymouth on January 17 and was handed the keys by Maurice Morton, sales and marketing director for event sponsor Dickies.

He said: “It was fantastic to see Judi’s smile after she received her new car. There’s no doubt she’ll be a worthy ambassador for UK Worker of the Year and indeed a role model in the agriculture sector.”

UK Worker of the Year is a free national competition sponsored by Dickies, which is open to anyone who works in the UK aged 17 or over.

To find out more about the competition visit ukworkeroftheyear.com or email workeroftheyear@chicanemarketing.com

Judi has also been shortlisted for Britain’s Sexiest Farmer award.

The self-confessed ‘mature lady farmer’ beat entrants half her age to make it to the final round.

Farmers Weekly magazine with the help of The Original Muck Boot Company will crown one male and one female winner.

Voting for the competition closes on Friday, January 24.

For more information or to vote visit fwi.co.uk/sexyfarmer