A woman who took up photography after her professional dancing career was tragically cut short has been named one of the nation?s top 25 ?business heroes?.

Leila Romaya launched a career in photography after spinal damage put paid to her dancing ambitions just two week?s before she was due to perform at the Royal Opera House and embark on a world tour.

An injury suffered during rehearsal was apparently misdiagnosed and one morning she woke up in excruciating pain, unable to walk. She would never dance again.

To take her mind off the situation Leila ?picked up a camera and soon found a new world opening up before her?, according to a spokesman for The Barclays Trading Places Awards, which recognises people who have ?battled against the odds? to positively change their lives by setting up a business.

After recovering from major surgery, Leila, who is from Liverpool, spent six years developing her photography skills until she launched a freelance career in 2005 and established Leila Foto Ltd.

Leila?s success has now put her in line for a possible top prize worth more than £7,000 at The Barclays Trading Places Awards finals, to be held in October.

Backed by the government and The Prince’s Trust the awards are judged by a panel that includes Big Issue founder John Bird, who will help select 10 finalists before choosing an overall winner.

Picture credit: Leila Romaya

Woman overcomes odds