HIT baking show, the Great British Bake Off (GBBO), returned to our screens with a flourish last night and some viewers may have noticed a familiar face among the contestants.

That is because 31-year-old Claire Goodwin is from Ashton on Mersey.

The Buck Lane resident, who is a speech therapist by day, bakes for fun and makes wedding cakes for her family and friends – but has never baked professionally before.

And when a friend mentioned she should apply for the show – which more than 17,000 people applied for this year – Claire thought she was joking.

"I'd had a lot of time off due to mental health problems and I'd just returned to work and I wondered whether it was the right time," said Claire.

"One of the ways I got better and back into work was through baking – just giving myself something to do and something positive to focus on, so it was perfect really."

In fact, Claire has now launched a website on the topic of baking as therapy, combining her two areas of expertise.

But while she is a strong advocate of baking as a form of relaxation, she admits things could get stressful in the famous GBBO tent and even the most time-honoured recipes could go wrong.

"You're cooking in a different kitchen and using a different oven and it doesn't matter that it's the most expensive oven money can buy, it's not yours.

"And there's a camera in your face of course," she joked.

But despite occasional stress and the long days, Claire is full of praise for the show and its famous judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

"Honestly its just like it is on TV, Mary and Paul are lovely and mark you really fairly,.

"They always look for something positive even if you've had a nightmare."

Claire, who has been married to husband Carl for three years, said she is not sad filming has ending because, in a way, the show is 'only just beginning' and said she can't wait for people to see it.

Follow Claire on Twitter by searching @bake_therapist or visit her new website at baketherapy.co.uk.