A karate student is heading to the north of Scotland to become a ‘black belt’ in ballet.

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Cook, a second dan black belt, is set to follow a dream of one day performing on the West End by pursuing his passion for dance.

The former pupil of Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley is determined to give his all when he starts at Ballet West School in the Highlands next month.

He said: “I’ve been doing pretty well at school but the more I danced the more I’ve felt like I couldn’t follow the academic path any more.

“I want to perform and I hope to dance on the West End some day because I love the stage.

“I get really nervous beforehand, but when I’m up there I love it and I’ve been doing school musicals since Year 7.

“The karate’s been incredibly useful, especially for me being a late starter, as it’s given me flexibility and the ability to memorise sequences of movements.

“And I’ve had no taunting at all about doing ballet, apart from friends, but that’s just banter.”

Andrew, who started ballet just two and a half years ago, was also offered a place at Manchester but says the remote Scottish school, near Oban, “felt right”.

His mother, Liz Walker, is backing him all the way but admits to having some initial reservations.

She said: “You have to follow your dreams and as a family we’re all supporting Andrew.”