A DARLINGTON gym instructor is one of only 200 people in the country to gain a qualification on coaching cancer patients in exercise.

Michael Hodgson, who works at the Dolphin Centre, studied for the Cancer Rehabilitation Level 4 Specialist Qualification awarded by the Wright Foundation.

He will now work with cancer patients to develop specialised programmes designed to meet their needs and support their physical activity.

Colleague Krzysztof Nowakowski, also a gym instructor, is also working towards the qualification.

To achieve the qualification, the pair have had to complete an intensive training course which included a practical exam, two written exams and a case study.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for leisure, said: "The advice, guidance and support the gym instructors and personal trainers at the Dolphin Centre provide is second to none.

"The team works hard to continually develop their knowledge and expertise to ensure people get the very best from their time with us in the gym.

“The range of specialist skills is impressive and enables so many more people to enjoy exercise and see the benefits to their personal health and wellbeing.

“People come to the Dolphin Centre gym for a variety of reasons - some to improve their general fitness, some to train for a specific sporting event they are taking part in and some to develop their ability and fitness levels after or during an illness, surgery or injury.

“Michael and Krzysztof's qualifications will enable so many more people to get the right support they need.”