Dragon Duncan Bannatyne to help judge Miss Sunderland

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BUDDING beauty queens will be strutting their stuff in a bid to impress entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne.

The Dragons’ Den star has been announced as the judge of a Miss Sunderland contest.

Mr Bannatyne, 65, who is to leave the popular BBC show later this year, said: “Judging a beauty contest is certainly something new to me and is quite different to anything I’ve encountered on the Dragons’ Den, but I’m really looking forward to it.

“I have been asked before but my business and television schedule has never permitted it, but this year the timing is perfect.”

The contest is being co-organised by Simon Robertson, whose Headline Models and One Voice Productions company hosts the event.

It’s one of two Miss Sunderland contests being held in the city. Instead of going to Miss England, entrants in this version qualify for Miss Great Britain, which has different entry criteria.

Simon said: “I’m thrilled that Duncan has agreed to take part. To have someone of his profile is incredible and really raises the bar.

“He’s known to millions from his role in Dragons’ Den, where he has proved himself very astute and sharp, yet at the same fair-minded and down to earth.

“For the last few years I’ve asked him to take part but he’s not been able to, so it was great to hear him say ‘yes’ this time around.”

Twenty-two girls from across the region have won their way into the final, which has an Alice in Wonderland theme, and takes place at The Pullman, in Seaburn, on Friday, September 12. Rounds include swimwear through the ages and eveningwear.

Debbie Craig, charity manager at Metro Radio’s Cash For Kids, this year’s chosen charity, said: “We are proud to be part of Miss Sunderland.

“It’s very important for us to work with local people to raise vital funds for disabled and disadvantaged children.”