SHE began baking as a little girl and millions of TV viewers will this week see her culinary skills on the Great British Bake Off.

Contestant Sandy Docherty, 49, a child protection and welfare officer at Titus Salt School in Baildon, has admitted being "slightly in awe" when meeting presenters Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

She would not give much away about how she got on during filming but said meeting the judges was akin to chatting to royalty.

Ms Docherty, who lives in Yeadon, credits her aunts Joan and Lilly for giving her a grounding in baking.

She said: "I grew up with baking, helping my aunties, but instead of slicing the cherries I bit them in half!

"My first success, or so I thought, was a cornflake and cocktail cherry pastry - a bit of a grey mass of pastry it turned out to be. I was about four-years-old."

The child welfare officer and counsellor, who also runs a popular after-school cookery club at Titus Salt, said appearing on the show was nerve-wracking but also an "extremely emotional and uplifting experience".

"I was more nervous than ever thought I was going to be, and I was slightly in awe of meeting Mary and Paul. It felt all very surreal.

"The warmth and the relaxation in the tent really does bring out your natural personality."

Asked if she had a 'signature' cake, she said it changed from week to week.

"Last week it was Cornish pasties and this week it is Madeira cake with all different kinds of fillings - ginger and whisky, white chocolate and raspberry."

She admitted she's not quite so skilful at creating fancy pastries.

"The finer more delicate cakes, like French patisserie, I struggle with. I like to call myself more artisan, that might translate to ‘it may not be glamorous but it tastes good’."

Contestants are not allowed to give much away about what happened during filming but Ms Docherty did say that she remained in touch with other contestants.

"I really enjoyed filming the first episode; I loved the whole experience. You will have to watch it to see what we bake.

"I still keep in contact with the other contestants - we are an eclectic mix of ordinary people who all have many special talents. They are great fun and we all support each other very much."

Meeting Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood was "slightly surreal" and "a little bit like meeting royalty," she said.

"As soon as I got over my nerves, they are ordinary people and I relaxed to the point that I was able to tease them both a little bit."

Appearing on the show was also something of a personal journey.

"I went on Bake Off because I think I needed to remind myself of the person I am, Ms Docherty said.

"It was an extremely positive experience, and I got so much back from it, more than I was expecting. It was so much more of personal journey than making a few cakes."

She said anyone could learn to bake - with trial and error.

"If you have had as many failures as I have in baking, you have to learn from the failure - try again and move on.

"Everything can be fixed with a bit of icing or decoration, everything is redeemable. With a bit of promise and goodwill you can fix most things.

"And if not you can have it with custard."

* The show returns to BBC1 on Wednesday for a sixth series.