WHILST most of us are fast asleep, enthusiastic competitors are practising their spins, lifts and turns at the Silver Blades ice rink in Widnes.

Their efforts have paid off as they soared to success in the adult ice dance championships.

Coach Amanda Galloway, aged 32, a former British champion, said:”It’s mentally and physically challenging. People just get the bug. We have nearly 200 people in our club.

“You have to love it to get up at 4am every day.”

Alexandra Brocken, aged 32, only started skating nine years ago and came first in the solo bronze category with her Charleston ice dance.

She said: “I love it. I enjoy having goals to work towards.

“I worked really hard. This was my best score ever, my personal best so it was double happiness.”

Alexandra, from Wigan, trains for two hours on her way to work at the Environment Agency in Warrington four times a week.

She tones up in a gym three times a week and also swims.

She changed jobs and moved from Norwich to train in Widnes with Amanda.

Alexandra added; "I moved my life and my job. It was a big choice. I wanted to skate with Amanda. She has the right balance of being strict and having fun."

"She always encourages me to be my best and pushes me to the next level."

"Widnes is my favourite rink because everyone is really friendly. The ice is in good condition."

She is keen to encourage beginners to persevere.

She said: "My best advice is don't give up. There are times when you've got to skate the same exercises over and over again. That's how you will improve.

"In the middle of winter, when the alarm goes off so early, I don't feel like getting up. But as soon as I get on the ice, the adrenalin kicks in and I remember why I love it."