Radio presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Gemma Atkinson, has been enjoying a "cuddle club" at an East Lancashire animal sanctuary.

Former Hollyoaks and Emmerdale actress, Gemma, is president of Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Edenfield and has been taking her daughter, Mia, to the sanctuary’s special Cuddle Club.

Gemma, who also has a son, Santiago, with former UK Strictly dancer Gorka Marquez, let Mia have a cuddle with a puppy called Shelby, who has since been re-homed.

Dog staff member at Bleakholt, Sarah Neild said: “Cuddle Club started with a dog called Rusty who didn't like going for walks but enjoyed being cuddled, so some of our volunteers spent time cuddling him on our settee instead of walking him.

Bury Times: Gemma cuddling ShelbyGemma cuddling Shelby (Image: Bleakholt)

"When he got re-homed we decided to carry it on as, if it's raining, some dogs don't want to walk but don't want to stay in their kennels and a lot of them love company. It has proved popular."

Cuddle Club takes place at Bleakholt on weekdays and anyone wishing to attend should fill out a volunteer form and email it to before attending.

A spokesperson for Bleakholt said it is always best to call ahead if wishing to attend the Cuddle Club.