A woman suffering from depression has not only conquered her illness, she has also swept all before her in a national bodybuilding competition.

Tina Westall, from Falmouth, started going to the gym three years ago after she reached the point where she was "virtually at the end".

The 46 year-old said: "I'd given up on myself, I felt worthless and I'd lost all hope. I decided to go the gym just to try and do something to make me feel better."

A year after joining the gym, she became interested in bodybuilding after being inspired by another Falmouth woman Zoey Wright, who had won competitions after battling a life-threatening bowel disease for two years.

"Watching her inspired me. She's an incredible woman and together with her partner Conor Hyde, from Chronically Motivated, she has helped me so much with training and support.

"My goal was to go on stage and smile and after I'd done it and stepped off the stage, I felt complete because I'd achieved everything that I'd set out to do.

"Winning was the icing on the cake," said Tina.

The event took place in Margate, Kent and was organised by Pure Elite, the largest bikini, fitness and muscle model competition in Europe.

She won the Bikini and Fitness categories for the over 45s, beating other entrants from all over the world.

"It was an amazing experience. Everyone there was so nice. The hardest part was walking out on stage alone. I hardly had any sleep the night before but six friends came up to support me from Cornwall and that was a great help," she said.

"If my story helps only one person, it'll be worth it. I still suffer from a lack of self-confidence. People think that bodybuilders are very confident but that is often the wrong perception, because there are so many who have overcome their fears to get up on stage.

Tina, who has lost almost three stone in weight since starting her training, says she now like to help other people who are lacking in confidence.

"I looked in the mirror after the competition and my eyes were shining. I'm so proud to have overcome the problems that I've had," she said.