IT IS the ultimate accolade in the British pole dancing community.

And this weekend a Hampshire mum will battle it out with the country’s best in a bid to be crowned national pole dancing champion.

The event marks Emma Simmonds’ return to competitive pole dancing after the birth of her five-year-old Lilygrace.

Dangling and performing acrobatics from a four-metre pole, the 36-year-old has been training for five months for the Miss Pole Dance UK women’s final.

It is being held at Hawth Theatre in Crawley, West Sussex, on Saturday.

Emma, from Chandler’s Ford,will perform a five-minute routine on two different four-metre poles, one of which will be spinning as she performs on and around it.

Self-taught Emma has been teaching in Southampton for more than a decade and opened one of Southampton’s first pole dance schools, Pole Performers Dance School Ltd, in November 2004.

She still teaches at Basepoint Enterprise Centre, on Anderson Road, Southampton, and one of her pupils, Luke Wassell, will be competing in the Men’s Finals at the same contest.

Starting her career as a professional dancer, Emma later fell in love with pole.

“I would encourage people to try pole dancing,” she said.

“It is a great form of exercise and it really improves your confidence,” added Emma, who began her career as a professional dancer then went on to dancing on podiums in Ibiza and cabaret dancing.

“I can teach anyone from juniors to adults and offer classes for men and women.

"If people aren’t sure whether they will enjoy it, they should just come along for a taster day.”