A PENSIONER'S songwriting skills were finally recognised after 70 years when she won a top award for a tune about the pressures of being a single parent.

Olive Cockley, who is better known as Miss Ollie, was inspired by the difficult juggling act faced by her daughter, who was bringing up a three-year-old son while working as the acting chief executive of Ealing Hospital.

The 81-year-old, of Shadwell Drive, Northolt, said: "My daughter Deborah had a high-powered job. I looked after my grandson, Daniel, in the day, she would pick him up in the evening, be rushing around putting him to bed and then still have to work until all hours.

"They spent Christmas Day at my house and she went to visit the patients and staff, but decided she couldn't leave him, so she took him with her and he didn't get to open his presents until the evening.

"I wrote the song Single Working Mother that day as a tribute to all the parents, and also the children, in a similar situation."

Miss Ollie picked up her prize at The Country Music and Entertainment Awards in Monaghan, Ireland, at the beginning of the month, alongside popular Irish country singer Ita Madden, who was chosen to sing the song.

It was named single of the year and was the most requested song on Irish country music radio stations. It was written almost 20 years ago, but Miss Ollie has been penning songs since she was 11.

They began as poetry to pass the time in the bomb shelters during the Blitz and later became lyrics. But what is perhaps more surprising than why it took so long before she found fame, is the way she got her break.

She said: "I think I must have written thousands of songs. Some have been picked up but I've never had anything like this. I was shopping in Greenford and a lady was after the same Irish country music CD as me, but there was only one copy.

"She let me have it and we got talking and she asked if she could show some of my work to a friend of hers. That friend was Jimmy Smith of the Mighty Avons and a big music publisher in Ireland. He really liked Single Working Mother but said he needed to find the right singer.

"I didn't hear anything for five or six years and thought that would be it, but he found Ita and the song came out this year."

The song can be downloaded through iTunes for 78p and Miss Ollie has just completed an album for Ita Madden which will be recorded next year.