A LOT of us turned to baking bread in the midst of lockdown, but not with as much success as one woman from Urmston.

Irina Ruseva, founder of Flour and Soul, has been crowned the north west's 'Bread Hero' at Tiptree's World Bread Awards.

An avid baker since learning from her grandfather in Bulgaria, Irina – like a lot of others – used the lockdown as a chance to try some sourdough.

But unlike the rest of us, who left our starters festering at the back of the fridge, she stuck at it with award-winning results.

What started as selling a few leftover loaves on Facebook turned into a business, with Irina baking the bread and delivering it in Urmston by bike.

On maternity leave at the time, she did it all with a baby on her back and a three-year-old at her feet.

Now both children are in nursery, Irina is looking to expand the business beyond the 80 or so houses who receive deliveries as subscribers to Flour and Soul's 'bread club'.

Messenger Newspapers: Irina Ruseva (Image: Henry Kenyon).Irina Ruseva (Image: Henry Kenyon).

But at the same time, she is keen to keep all deliveries on two wheels – now with the help of Urmston Bike Deliveries – and the sole supplier of flour as a mill in Cheshire.

After all, as well as being crowned the north west's 'Bread Hero', she also received the Zeelandia Award for Sustainability.

After the World Bread Awards, Richard Hazeldine, national sales manager for Zeelandia, said: "We're thrilled to present Irina with the Zeelandia Award for Sustainability.

"Progress on making the world a better place and tackling climate change requires a shared commitment from bakers, customers and suppliers to do things better throughout the supply chain.

"Even small steps – or turns of the wheel – help."

Meanwhile, one of the judges, Britt Box, also known as She Who Bakes, said: "It has been another strange year and it is so lovely to read stories of the bread heroes who have carried on, diversified, given back and risen to the challenge.

"They're an absolute credit to their communities."