When Zahra Butt took up boxing as a way of getting back into sport four years ago she never imagined being described as an inspiration.

The 38-year-old was suffering from post-natal depression but after losing four stone while boxing, the coach spotted an opportunity to make a difference.

Four years on Butt is running her own classes and is the first Muslim woman wearing the hijab to have been made an ABA boxing coach.

Butt, who runs Box Smart which helps women in the local community, has now been recognised for her dedication after being named one of the SPAR People’s Podium regional winners.

The dedicated mother has helped plenty of women who have suffered from depression or domestic violence and insists that those who come to her classes are the real inspiration and not her.

She said: “I have to pinch myself every time someone comes up to me and says ‘because of you I’ve had the strength and they’ve made me feel better about myself’.

“It’s always been about giving back and helping others and helping them get over their hurdles that they’re facing in life.

“I always tell the people in the class that they’re my inspiration. To see what so many of them have been through and go through that journey.

“You see somebody who has no self-belief and struggling and seeing their progress is very humbling.

“If I look back to where I started I’ve gone leaps and bounds. Sometimes you look at your own journey and feeling like you haven’t done enough, and I think I’m my own worst critic.

“I feel like there’s so much to be done in helping people realise their own potential and creating a society where we’re all equal regardless of your gender, ethnicity or religion.”

Butt has been awarded £2,000 has part of the initiative which has helped seen four other regional winners rewarded for using the power of sport to improve the community they live in.

The mum-of-three was rewarded with a trip to the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham where she got to meet sprinting sensation Dina Asher-Smith who handed over the cheque.

Asher-Smith has won three gold medals at the European Championships and Butt, who hopes to use the money to create more classes, was lost for words at the whole experience.

She said: “It’s been absolutely sensational to come to Birmingham. I couldn’t have ever dreamed of a day like this. Meeting Dina Asher-Smith, she’s such an amazing athlete and she is such an amazing person and listening to her story as well.

“I couldn’t believe that she thought I was an inspiration, I nearly fainted! It was so surreal. I cannot put it into words. It’s very humbling to listen to her and for her to say such nice things about me is incredible.”

Asher-Smith was blown away by Butt’s story and claimed that the world of sport needs people like the Nottingham boxing coach.

She said: “It’s essential that we recognise people like Zahra because the work she does and how selfless she is and give her time and her focus and commitment to the community, that is what sport itself is built on.

“If it wasn’t for people like her people’s lives wouldn’t be as enriched. I firmly believe she’s a more than worthy winner and it’s been an absolute privilege for me to be able to give her the award. It’s great to recognise her as part of the people’s podium.”

SPAR, long-term partner of British Athletics, is supporting community sport all over Britain. To discover more about our #PeoplesPodium winners visit: facebook.com/SPARintheUK