A WORLD champion in martial arts is helping Barnsley people feel healthier and stronger - as well as training them to succeed in top competitions.

Mick Crossland owns the non-profit making organisation The Combat Academy in Wombwell, and has helped the borough's young fighters. His efforts have been noticed and he's been nominated in the Proud of Barnsley awards.

Sheryll Hamshaw, who nominated Mick in the Sporting Achievement category, said: "Mick is an outstanding member of our community. As a family we have known him for a few years now and our relationship began when he started training our son Zak in kickboxing.

"As well as now training myself and my husband, Mick has become a family friend and we have also become friends with his family."

Zak, 13, now regards The Combat Academy as a second home and Mick as an "inspirational and motivational figure" in his life. Zak's parents say his confidence has grown in leaps and bounds and he has now qualified to fight in the ICO World Kickboxing Championships in October.