FORMER World's Strongest Man finalist Russell Bradley will be swapping weights for champagne flutes when he officially opens his new venture - Britain's first strongman training camp.

The camp is set to open just before Christmas and Mr Bradley aims to gain maximum media coverage on the big day, when several of the UK strongman contenders will be at the Pershore camp to offer support.

After several years on the strongman circuit, including reaching the finals of the World's Strongest Man competition in 1997 and 1998, Mr Bradley, from Worcester, is now committed to building the sport up to international standard.

He believes Scandinavians have the edge on the UK because the sport is funded and they have specific training camps.

Mr Bradley also wants to set the record straight after his helper Chris Wiltshire, an amateur strongman, appeared to take credit for the venture in an article in Monday's Evening News.

The camp is, in fact, the brainchild of Mr Bradley, who organised all the construction, sponsorship and financial backing.

Mr Bradley also hopes to set up a Hereford and Worcester Strongman competition and to hold heats of the Britain's Strongest Man competition here, and to help various charities and work with young offenders.

"I was gutted when I read what Chris had said, because I've put so much work into this, and I've had my sponsors on the phone thinking that I've double-crossed them," he said.

"The camp has been under way for four months."

Mr Bradley has accepted an apology from Mr Wiltshire, who told the Evening News that he was sorry for any trouble he had caused.

"The camp is Russell's idea. It appears I gave the wrong impression," he said.

"I'm sorry for jumping the gun and possibly upsetting some of the sponsors, who have been very good to Russell."