Jessica wins first qualifier for Miss Northumberland

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A BLYTH girl said she was ‘shocked’ after winning the first heat of this year’s Miss Northumberland competition.

And looking ahead to next month’s final, Jessica Cunningham admits it would mean everything if she was crowned the overall champion.

The 22-year-old wowed the judges at The Joiners Arms in Newton-by-the Sea to take top spot in the opening qualifier of the 2012 beauty and personality contest.

A total of ten girls entered the heat and Ashington girls Jodie Weatherstone, 16, and Momay Kanittha, 17, as well as fellow 17-year-old Bethany Barker from Alnwick, and Kate Ireland, 22, from Jesmond, also sealed their spots in the Friday, June 29, final.

But trainee nurse Jessica was the pick of the bunch – much to her surprise.

“I didn’t expect to win the heat, that’s for sure,” she said.

“I have never done anything like this before and all the girls were beautiful, and they came across really well.”

Having impressed the judging panel, which included current Miss Northumberland Laura Hickey and Mark Chapman, director of the competition’s main sponsor Rhinox, Jessica said she is proud to be in the final, which is being staged at Newton Hall at Newton-by-the-Sea.

“It is exciting. It is just amazing and a great honour,” she said.

This year’s winner will follow in the footsteps of Laura Hickey.

They will receive a modelling contract with the newly-established Glamrus Model Agency, a host of other prizes, and will go on to compete in next year’s Miss England contest.

And with Jessica’s dreams of being crowned Miss Northumberland 2012 moving a step closer, she admits it would be a privilege to be the next face of the county.

“It would mean everything to win the competition,” she said.

“It would be the best feeling in the world.

“I am so passionate and enthusiastic about Northumberland.

“I have lived here all my life, it is a beautiful place, and it would be really, really good to represent Northumberland and show pride in it.”

The Miss Northumberland 2012 competition, in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice, comes on the back of last year’s successful inaugural event, and organisers One Voice Productions have once again teamed up with the News Post Leader, as well as its sister papers the Morpeth Herald, Northumberland Gazette and Berwick Advertiser.

And with the competition’s next heat taking place on Tuesday at Blackmore’s of Alnwick, from 7pm, followed by an event at The Black Swan, in Alnwick, on June 6, girls are being encouraged to come forward.

Those aged 17 to 24 (by April 2013) can sign up.

Women’s online clothing retailer Frock ‘n’ Roll is one of the sponsors for this year’s event.

Amy Slavin, MD, said: “I am so excited to be part of this great local event.

“I wish all the contestants the best of luck and I’m sure they will look stunning in our garments.

“This is an opportunity for us to showcase our clothing to our target audience, and to support other local business.”

For more information, visit www.missnorthumberland.co.uk