By James Cowen and Tom Jackson

A school matron took part in a charity mixed martial arts event after being inspired by a boy at her school who had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

Robyn Smith, of Primrose Hill in Kings Langley, took part in the Ultra MMA charity tournament in Watford in front of 300 people.

The 37-year-old, who has been the matron at The Hemel Hempstead School since 2014, said she was “inspired” by a 14-year-old pupil at the school, who continued to attend lessons during his leukaemia treatment.

Mrs Smith said: "I had thought about signing up for Ultra MMA before but I was too much of a chicken to do it.

"I've done Ultra White Collar Boxing a few years ago and I've had some experience boxing in the past so I wanted to try something different and challenge myself.

"All of a sudden this particular pupil was diagnosed with leukaemia in January and it was such a shock.

"He kept attending school and it inspired me to sign up and raise some money for Cancer Research."

Ultra participants were given the opportunity to take part in eight weeks of free professional MMA training before a showcase event in front of hundreds of spectators.

Mrs Smith did her eight weeks of free training at the Lions Gym in Watford - and was the only woman in her group of 20 competitors.

She added: "It was fun to throw some men around during the training.

"My nickname during training was 'The Matron' because I was always reminding the guys to tie up their shoes and things like that."

Those who took part were asked to sell tickets for the show and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.

So far, Ultra Events - the company behind the event - has raised a staggering £18 million for Cancer Research UK.

Mrs Smith raised £677 for Cancer Research UK by taking part in the fight, which she narrowly lost on a points decision.

She walked out to 'The Imperial March' - Darth Vader's signature music from Star Wars - in front of a packed crowd at Woodside Leisure Centre, saying she picked the song because “it's awesome and amazing”.

A female opponent was drafted in from a separate Ultra event so Mrs Smith could fight a woman.

She was supported on the night by her husband Andy 44, and her brother Toby, 35.

Describing the fight, she said: "It was a good fight, a real challenge.

"I was the third fight on the card so it was nice to get my fight out of the way.

"I loved the wrestling side of the fight, that was the real challenge for me.

"I may have lost the fight but I raised lots of money and made my kids Isobel, 11, Emily, nine, and Edward, six, proud.”

Mrs Smith also urged anyone thinking about taking part to “just do it” – and they would not regret it.

She also felt the school had been supportive of her, with staff donating money for the fight.

Mrs Smith continued: "It's such a great experience and takes you out your comfort zone and helps you grow as a person.

"I was even mentioned in the staff briefing and received a congratulations card from the head teacher which was really kind.

"The boy who was diagnosed with leukaemia knew I was taking part and he was very grateful. He is still undergoing treatment at the moment."

Jon Leonard who runs Ultra Events said: “What an inspiration Robyn is and the fact she was motivated to take part because of a boy at her school says a lot about her.

“We’re really glad she enjoyed the experience and raised so much money for such an important charity.”

Training for the next Ultra MMA event in Watford begins on September 16, before the event eight weeks later on November 9.