BELBROUGHTON beauty Laura Beth Morgan narrowly missed out on the Miss England crown after the glitzy final at the Southport Theatre Convention Centre.
The reigning Miss Worcestershire made it into the last 20 and wowed the judges with her fund-raising acumen.
The fact she raised a staggering £9,479 for good causes in less than seven months – more than all of the other competitors – earned her the title of Miss Charity England 2016.
As well as the competition’s charity ‘Beauty with a Purpose’, Laura has also collected cash for local charities close to her heart, including the Primrose Hospice.
Laura said she was ‘absolutely honoured’ with her ‘Miss Charity’ title.
“It was perfect for me – it really reflects my personality and outlook on life and it is great to know that money will be making a difference to people’s lives.”
The Miss England contest is keen to move away from its historical ‘bathing beauty’ image, so instead contestants did battle in a series of tough qualifying rounds.
These included sports and fitness, fund-raising, talent and an eco-fashion show.
When she became Miss Worcestershire, her eco-dress gained plenty of plaudits – it was made from recycled Christmas cards from friends and family members.
Back then she said it was good as she ‘could take them down the catwalk with her’.
Her eco-dress for the Miss England final was one she made when she was 14 and was then revamped for the contest. Laura managed to get sponsorship from Walkers Crisps which aptly sent her 100 empty Worcestershire Sauce crisp packets. They were made into 100 vibrant purple flowers which were added to the yellow dress.
Laura’s journey began when she won the Miss Worcestershire title back in January, impressing the judges with her confidence and determination to change the views of beauty pageants, including promoting body confidence in young people.
Since then she has attended more than 50 events, including the Belbroughton and Bromsgrove Christmas lights switch-ons, community clean-ups and charity events, such as a fashion show and ladies day.
She has also judged competitions, given talks to youngsters from schools and local groups, was guest of honour during a milestone match at Bromsgrove Sporting and even helped make her own Miss Worcestershire Ale.
Laura told The Standard: “I had never done anything like this before – I’m so glad I did it.
“I have grown in confidence so much and met so many amazing people, especially in Worcestershire, who I will be staying in touch with.
“If there are any other young women who are thinking about taking up the challenge, I would definitely recommend it.
“It is an experience which will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Although she missed out on the top title, which went to new Miss England Elizabeth Grant, the 24-year-old has been invited back by judges to compete again at the 2017 Miss England as a reward for her amazing work during the competition.