A 24-YEAR-OLD with a passion for Zumba was celebrated as the "special guest" at a national event last week.

Hannah Payton, from Atherton, became the UK's first official Zumba teacher with down syndrome back in October, after deciding to turn her love for the activity into a profession.

After hitting national headlines with her inspiring story, Hannah was invited as Zumba Academy's special guest at their national event in Manchester on Saturday, February 5.

The event celebrated the Latin-inspired dance movement with instructors from across the country and got everybody involved in some positive fitness classes.

Hannah was asked to come up on stage to celebrate her achievements, speak to the crowd, and dance with Alberto 'Beto' Perez, one of the founders of Zumba.

After training groups of disabled people at Zumba classes in Manchester in recent weeks, Hannah will begin teaching her first mainstream classes in Overhulton this week.

Leigh Journal: Hannah became the UK's first down syndrome Zumba teacher last yearHannah became the UK's first down syndrome Zumba teacher last year

Hannah's mum Jutta described her daughter as a "very active, sporty, independent girl who loves music, dance and zumba".

As well as her Zumba responsibilities, she also volunteers at the Memory Tea Room in Atherton, the Lowry Theatre in Salford, and a kennells in Tyldesley.

Reflecting on Hannah's success and Zumba Academy's event, Jutta added: "She is living her dream."