A BURLESQUE club is providing a community to women struggling with depression and other health issues.

Paula Cornwall, 57, thought she would never walk again after being hit by a car two years ago, breaking her ankle.

A lifelong dancer, Mrs Cornwall travelled to Japan, Spain and Morocco with her dancing career and was devastated to think she would never put on her dancing shoes again.

After healing slowly, she brought back her love for burlesque dancing and began a workshop in Horwich for women who wanted to try it.

The workshops proved so popular, Mrs Cornwall expanded to a weekly class in Horwich Conservative Club, naming her school Mae Bee Burlesque.

The dance lessons have become therapeutic for many of her students, who come from a variety of different backgrounds.

Mrs Cornwall, who lives in Standish, said: "They are all amazing.

"A lot of the girls suffer with depression and loneliness. It gives everyone including myself something to look forward to. It's for yourself.

"We have a lady who had a brain haemorrhage.

"She came to my workshop out of the blue and she does not miss a class. She has stuck with it.

"We have another lady from Poland, who wanted to meet people and improve her English."

At first, the ladies were nervous to don their fishnet tights and feather boas, but Mrs Cornwall says the dancing has helped them to improve their confidence, so much that they have arranged their own show.

Mrs Cornwall said: "It is a fabulous form of escape and fantasy. "It is a sisterhood, a support network, for ladies to let their hair down and enjoy.

"This show is about positivity, determination, and empowerment. There are also guest artists from other areas in the country, coming along to perform their brand new acts."

The Mae Bee Burlesque group will be performing its own, two-hour show titled The Whoopee Lounge on April 19, from 8.30pm at Horwich Conservative Club.

Tickets are £10 and can be purchased from Mrs Cornwall at Horwich Conservative Club on Wednesday evenings between 7.45pm and 9.45pm. They can also be bought on the door on the night, or online from Skiddle.