NINE years ago, Anne Holt was told she had weeks to live.

But she beat breast cancer and took up a new sport which doctors said would help her recovery.

Now Anne, nicknamed Braveheart by her husband – is set to compete for Great Britain in the Dragon Boating World Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida.

The sport sees 20 paddlers rowing a 40-foot decorated boat to the beat of a drum. Anne, 57, who practises up and down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal through East Lan-cashire, is very proud of her battle against the odds.

She said: “I have achieved a great deal when I thought my life was going to be over.”

Anne, from Cherry Tree, Blackburn, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and took early retirement from her job as a teacher at St Silas’ CE Primary School, Blackburn.

While recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, she heard about the benefits of the sport which experts say helps with mobility and other aspects of recovery for people who have had their lymph node removed.

Anne took up dragon boating in 2005 with the Liverpool-based Pool Of Life, the UK's first breast cancer survivors’ team, and started comp-eting in races with both the Pool Of Life team and the Amathus dragon boat club.

Last year she won a bronze and silver medal after being selected by time trial for the GB Senior women’s team for the European championships in Amsterdam.

Now the mother-of-two will be jetting off to Tampa Bay with 20 other paddlers to represent Britain in the world championships.

The former sports novice said: “It has helped me to focus on staying healthy.

"And, for someone who was not really into sports, I am very proud of what I have ach-ieved, especially after the prognosis that I got.”

She added: “I want other cancer sufferers to know that even though life can be difficult at times, they can still achieve great things.”