A FORMER anorexia sufferer who uses pole-dancing and burlesque lessons to support other troubled women has triumphed at the National Happiness Awards.

Natalie Morgan-Dew runs the Mizz Twisted Cherry Aerial and Alternative Dance Studio in Ross-on-Wye and was named Happiest Workplace Person.

Prize-winning pole dancer and instructor Natalie battled anorexia and agoraphobia for 12 years and beat the disease when she fell pregnant with her daughter, who is now four and is the youngest member of MENSA.

Natalie set up her alternative dance studio not only as a place where women can go to keep fit, but also as a place where mental health and is just as big a priority.

She has helped her students through a range of traumatic experiences including sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Her husband, Ben Dew, said: “Natalie is not trained as a counsellor but her empathy for others means she often gets home late from class because someone has just shared something very important with her.

"She has helped victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse seek the right help, she has helped people who have lost children and loved ones and helped people through divorces, anxiety and who are at life crossroads.

"She is there for anyone no matter who they are.”

The National Happiness Awards were launched three years ago by learning and development consultancy Laughology.

They have developed a reputation as the nation’s brightest and boldest award scheme. About 200 organisations and individuals entered this year.

The National Happiness Awards were held at MediaCity in Salford and were supported by Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett.

Each National Happiness Award category was judged by an independent panel which includes business experts, HR professionals, education specialists and psychologists.