A BACK injury which required spinal surgery provided the unlikely prompt to inspire a Cumbrian woman to take up the sport of weightlifting.

Less than five years on from what could have been a life-changing operation, Kate Hodge from Ulverston, has become a British Weightlifting Champion.

Mrs Hodge, who works in Supply Chain for BAE Systems in Barrow, began a fitness regime while recovering from an operation on a prolapsed disc which was crushing nerves in her spine.

She later learned she was only weeks away from becoming wheelchair bound.

This prompted her to work on strengthening her core which consequently led to an interest in Olympic weightlifting.

Mrs Hodge said: "My husband opened a gym with friends at the time I was recovering and I began working on my core but I built up my experience and took to the sport; it's fun!"

Mrs Hodge's husband, David, a senior project manager at BAE Systems, has also just begun competing for the Olympics too.

The couple has garnered gold medals from the British Masters Weightlifting Championships at Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Telford.

Mrs Hodge was crowned the British Weightlifting Champion W35 for the 59kg category, breaking two British records, whilst Mr Hodge was successful M40 in the 89kg category.

Recalling the moment she discovered that she was a British Champion, Mrs Hodge said: "It was an amazing feeling.

"I had my family and my weightlifting friends cheering me on.

"My husband had also won his category just before it was my turn to compete so I was already really excited for him."

The couple's ten-year-old son, Alex, is also interested in the sport.

Mr and Mrs Hodges are planning on spending their holidays training at Triple-X Performance Centre, a specialist gym in Manchester, this Easter.

The pair are currently gearing up to compete in the European Masters Weightlifting Championships in Finland this June.