A husband and wife team has opened a new state-of-the-art gym after selling their family home and converting a former garage.
Richard and Sarah Mason, both 47, also beat off strong competition to bag a grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Their new venture - Richard Mason Fitness on Main Road, Nether Kellet - includes two studios; one for personal training and the other for exercise classes, body workout, indoor cycling and over-60s fitness.
Former Carnforth High School pupil Mr Mason has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor for three years, serving more than 100 people, but this latest move means he can expand into new premises and create more jobs in the future.
He said: “With new, fully-equipped premises, Richard Mason Fitness is widening the range of services it offers and will appeal to a much larger section of the community, greatly increasing participation and ensuring many more local people can enjoy the benefits of a fitter and healthier lifestyle.
“Rural communities, unlike urban ones, usually don’t have access to sports and fitness coaching or fitness classes in a venue that has dedicated facilities yet people in the country need these things just as much as those who live in towns and cities.”
The new site, which was Atkinson’s Garage, was discovered by Mrs Mason, his wife and business partner.
Mrs Mason, whose background is marketing and customer service, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support our project has received from people in the village.
“I think they like the idea of a family business that has taken over a site known for fixing cars to one for fixing bodies.
“We don’t see Richard Mason Fitness as being in competition with other gyms in the area but as an alternative to them if you are serious about your fitness goals.”
The couple, who have two daughters, sold their Victorian farmhouse within a week of it going on the market.
Immediately, they set to work, first turning the new site into their home before developing the new fitness centre on the ground floor, adding an extension and improving parking.
Mr Mason represented Lancashire at cross-country and rugby and spent four years in the Royal Marines.
In 2009, he founded the City of Lancaster Triathlon Club, which now boasts a membership of more than 200 people.
Half of the gym’s total building costs were funded by the Government grant.
Mr Mason said classes would be kept to a maximum of ten, creating a social feel.