Members of a Cumbrian congregation are cheering on their deputy churchwarden as she competes in this year’s Great British Bake Off.

Abbi Lawson, aged 27, is a member of St James’ Tebay and was one of 12 contestants to feature in the first episode of the hit programme’s new series, broadcast on Tuesday night.

The Reverend Canon Brendan Giblin, vicar of St James’, praised her cake making skills and said Ms Lawson is being encouraged by everyone at her church.

"We were all thrilled to hear that Abbi had been successful in applying for the programme.

"She’s a star baker in her own right and has done so well to make it through to the show as thousands of people apply each year."

The Westmorland Gazette: Abbi Lawson's promotional stills for Bake OffAbbi Lawson's promotional stills for Bake Off (Image: Channel Four)

Viewers saw the Cumbrian native take on the challenge of Cake Week, with the aim to bake a perfect vertically layered cake.

She drew on her foraging skills using wild blackcurrants and poppy seeds for the cake and gorse petals for its decoration.

"We’ll be praying for Abbi over the coming weeks as she faces all the various challenges in the Bake Off tent," Reverend Canon Giblin added.

As part of a technical challenge on the show, Ms Lawson and the other contestants were asked to bake a chocolate fudge cake topped with fresh raspberries.

And she drew on her Cumbrian roots for the third challenge, designing a 'Herbert the Herdwick Sheep' ginger sponge cake featuring a hazelnut praline crunch.

The celebration of the county she lives in was something the reverend was pleased to watch on the national primetime show.

"It was lovely to see Abbi celebrate her Cumbrian heritage with the Herdwick sheep cake design.

"In fact, it looked too good to eat!”

If you missed it, you can catch up on the episode via Channel Four, and tune in weekly on Tuesday nights to see how far she can progress.