YOUNG Joe Grey is hoping to make a big impact in the weightlifting world - even though he is only three.

Little Joe, and his older brother Jake, are already in training as they bid to follow in the footsteps of their dad, Steve .

Steve, 32, was recently named as the winner of the The Northern Echo's Local Heroes Awards 2000.

The Darlington powerlifter battled to recover from a broken back ten years ago to become a champion.

His prize was £500 and a specially-commissioned trophy.

Now his two young sons are already in training to see if they too can lift the award one day.

Steve has a gym in the garage of his house, in which he trains.

His training sessions were of great interest to Joe and Jake, five, who both asked to join in.

Their dad said: "I've made them some small weights for them to practice with, which are very light.

"I got a broom shaft, and sprayed it silver, so it looks like a bar.

"Then I put some small wooden circles on each end, and painted them black, so they look like weights.

"The boys can practice different lifts, like a benchpress, with their own little weights.

"It's good for them to learn the correct postures and holds of the sport and the different exercises. It's a good way of teaching them, and it's safe for them as well.

"I'll do a set of eight lifts, and then the boys will join in.

"I think I've got a couple of potential weightlifters in the making here."

* Local Heroes is published with Friday's Northern Echo