BY day, Abby Carter helps vulnerable people in her role as support worker for a housing association. By night, she lifts cars.

For the 48-year-old from the Ribble Valley is in training to become Lancashire’s Strongest Woman, a contest which takes place in Burnley in July.

Unbelievably, Miss Carter only took up strength training last year, when instructors at her gym noticed how strong she was.

She said she was then bitten by the training bug after seeing how much passion personal trainer, Rolande Bradshaw – who has competed in several Strongman competitions – has for the sport.

She said: “His passion made me really curious to see what is was all about, so I decided to go along to his next competition and was totally blown away by the enthusiasm and friendliness of the athletes that I decided I had to have a go myself. This is what led to me entering my first strongwoman competition in Bolton last year.”

Training once a week at a gym in Preston with Rhiannon Lovelace - the World’s Strongest Woman in the lightweight division - the Together Housing worker is well on her way to making a name for herself in the sport.

She said: “I just missed out on the qualifiers for Europe’s Strongest Woman this year, so next year I’m going to have another go at qualifying for that and for England’s Strongest Woman too.

“Physical activity has always been a big part of my life and over the years I have taken part and competed in various sports. I’m also studying part-time at Accrington College and will qualify as a Level Three Personal Trainer in July.

“Hopefully I can use this qualification to encourage people to overcome barriers to exercising regularly, and lead a more active and healthy lifestyle.”

Miss Carter said that strongwoman training is rapidly becoming more popular, with more than just physical benefits attached to it.

She said: “By taking up strength training you will gain confidence, improve self-esteem and will be welcomed by a new ‘family’ of strong women to support you along the way. It’s a unique sport where no one wants you to fail and absolutely everyone will cheer for you.

“Also a year ago I would never have dreamed that I could deadlift 200kg, or lift a car, and I have achieved both of these challenges - with much admiration from the men at my gym.”