A veteran Croydon charity worker who worked to improve the lives of people with facial disfigurements has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

Rita Upchurch MBE, 85, developed an acclaimed camouflage make-up technique which continues to improve the quality of disfigured peoples lives across the UK.

She was honoured in a special ceremony at London’s Guildhall, accompanied by her daughter Sally Page and other family members and friends, where she was presented with a framed certificate.

Rita, who lives in an independent apartment at RMBI Care Co's Farnfield Court, South Croydon, said: "I am a Londoner by birth, and have lived here all my life.

"My work has taken me all over the world, but coming home to this great city has always been an uplifting experience.

"The great honour in having this award has confirmed that this is where I truly belong.”

Born in 1932 in Hampstead, Rita spent her early childhood in north London, and after being evacuated during the war, the family settled in south London.

Rita received an MBE in 2016 and her work has also been recognised by the London British Design Centre, where she won a medical award for creating a make-up range providing coverage for scars.

In 2002, Rita founded the AZOOR Society, a charity which funds research into a rare genetic eye disease called Azoor, a condition which can lead to total blindness.

Her daughter had developed the disease and no research was being carried out at the time, so Rita decided to set up her own charity, of which she is now Chairperson.

Rita was nominated for the Freedom of the City of London by fellow Freemasons, William Browning and Michael Cawston.