A Boston nurse who took up kickboxing to overcome a personal tragedy is set to represent Great Britain in the world championships.
Michelle Allbrook, who works on Ward 5A at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, took up the martial art nine years ago after losing her husband Steve suddenly to a brain haemorrhage.
Shesaid: “Steve was such a special person - a larger than life character. We’d been together since we were quite young.
“We did so much together and when I lost him I lost my self-confidence.
“I took months off work and become quite introverted. I thought - how am I going to go back to work and look after people after that happened?
“I felt a gap and I got into kickboxing to distract me.
“I have always been into fitness and Steve always supported me. I had often thought about doing martial arts and I found it a release.
“It is good for the endorphins and the group I train with are so welcoming.
“I managed to get back to work and through helping others after something so dreadful I felt good things can happen and I feel Steve is always there with me.”
Michelle, 39, trains with Pride UK Martial Arts Cross Training School which meets at the Broadfield Lane Industrial Estate in Boston.
At 5ft6ins tall and weighing 8 and a half stone, Michelle will be competing in the World Fighting Sports and Martial Arts Council (WFMC) Championships in Croatia in October. She will be taking part in the grappling category (a non-striking style similar to wrestling) and the kickboxing category.
Her coach Richard Wallace, who runs the training school in Boston, said: “She’s done so well. She is a second degree black belt and was British champion in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) last year.”
Joining her at the world championships for team GB will be teenager Kieran Perham (18) and Vaidas Stirby, both from Boston and who both also train at Pride UK.
Richard continued: “Although I’ve competed in competitions myself, as a coach this is more nerve-wracking.”
Michelle is being supported by her hospital colleagues with one saying: “She is the sweetest and most gentle lady you could wish to meet and will not ‘ blow her own trumpet’ but we are all so proud of her.”
Michelle said of her colleagues: “They’ve all been great. I would like to say thank you to my ward sister Tracy Fox who has really helped and they have tried to put me on early shifts where possible so I can fit in my training after work.”
To find out more about Pride UK Martial Arts Cross Training School contact Richard on 07740 350269.