A NORTHUMBERLAND student who became the first face of the county is getting ready for her second shot at the Miss England crown.
Lovely Laura Hickey, winner of the inaugural Miss Northumberland title last year, is gearing up for the semi-finals of the national beauty competition in May.
The former pupil at Morpeth’s King Edward VI High School has been allowed to re-enter the contest following the reorganisation of the Miss England final – a two-day contest to be held in Leicester at the end of June.
And the 22-year-old, who last year helped launch the search for the 2012 successor to her county crown, is relishing another stab at the Miss England title and has spoken of her pride of once again representing Northumberland.
“It is really exciting. I really, really enjoyed it last time,” said Laura, who went straight in to the 2011 national final.
“I didn’t get to go to the semi-finals last time so it is something new and I am going to go there and enjoy it.
“I am just really lucky to do it again and it puts me in a better position as far as representing Northumberland goes.
“It is brilliant to be representing Northumberland again. There are so many fantastic things in Northumberland and it gives the county great exposure.”
Laura, who lives in Wooler, won the first Miss Northumberland competition last June, after a series of heats narrowed down scores of entries to just 22 finalists who went head-to-head in a glam-off at Linden Hall Hotel
It wasn’t just her beauty which impressed the judges though, as her grace and personality also figured highly on the panel’s scorecards.
The Leeds Met University student has enjoyed her time as Miss Northumberland.
“It has been really good,” she admitted. “I have done so many things, from the Pride of Northumberland Awards, which were so inspiring, to cattle shows.
“I have done the most bizarre things but it has been great, and I also have this opportunity to go back into Miss England.”
With Laura setting her sights on a good showing in the national contest, the search is on to find a worthy successor to her county title.
Following the success of last year’s competition, organisers One Voice Productions (OVP) have once again teamed up with media partner Northeast Press – including the Morpeth Herald – to find Miss Northumberland 2012.
The winner of the competition will not only go on to compete in next year’s Miss England competition, but will receive a modelling contract with the newly-established Glamrus model agency and will win a host of prizes.
The final of this year’s Miss Northumberland will be held at Newton Hall on June 29 and the competition will be supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care and Beauty with a Purpose
To mark the Olympics, the contest will be getting into the sporting spirit and promises to bring all of the passion and atmosphere of the 2012 Games, with guarantees of stunning entertainment, spectacular fashion, special guests and the crowning of the next Miss Northumberland.
OVP’s managing director Simon Robertson, who will be hosting the final, said: “This year’s event is becoming more exciting by the minute, with a fantastic venue and the event will most certainly wow audiences and surpass all expectation.
“It is such a perfect setting for Northumberland’s prestigious event of the year.”
Paying tribute to Laura, he added: “She has represented the county with style and finesse, it’s been a year to remember for our first Miss Northumberland and her role isn’t over yet.
“If the new winner has anything like what Laura has had, she is in for an exciting year ahead. It really is an exciting opportunity.”
Miss Northumberland is open to candidates aged 17 to 24 years of age and is a chance for ambitious young people to represent their county and raise funds for local charities.
Heats are due to be held across the county.
Visit www.missnorthumberland.co.uk to enter.