A schoolgirl is aiming to use her influence as a finalist in a beauty pageant to help others as she puts herself in the running for national title.
Grace Maher, 15, from Houghton, is an entrant in Miss Teen Great Britain and is one of 30 finalists after winning the accolade of Miss Teen Sunderland.
The St Robert’s of Newminster Catholic School student is taking part in the competition for the first time and will travel to Blackpool later this month to join in the celebration at the Globe Theatre.
She is raising money for Together For Short Lives, which works to support children and their families.
Grace will be one of the youngest contestants in her category as she will still only be 15 when it takes place on the October 23.
The criteria for Miss Teen GB is to be 16 before the end of October, with her birthday just days before the end of the month.
People can apply from all over the country, so it’s a big thing to get through to the final.Lee Maher
Proud father Lee, 47, who works for SSE Energy as a head of partnerships, is married to Jane, 44, who is training to be a yoga teacher and is also dad to Kate, 17, who is studying her A-levels.
He said: “She sent off the application and sent some pictures and filled in the questionnaire and got through the round and then she got the confirmation she had got through to the final.
“It’s all be done via essays and questions about what she would do with the title and what she has done for charities.
“People can apply from all over the country, so it’s a big thing to get through to the final.
“It’s the first one she’s done and we were a bit surprised, we never thought she would do something like this, but she understands how it opens up opportunities and pushes her do more.
“They want to know what you have done and how much you have raised for charity and how you will help others through the competition.
“Grace has played piano since she was six and also loves to sing.
“She sees this an amazing achievement to even be considered in the final of Miss Teen GB and moreover, a fantastic opportunity to enable her to give back to others, empower young girls and raise money for charity.”
The final will take place over two days, covering a beauty queen challenge day, a pyjama diva party and the final event itself.
The leaders of the contest say they created it to be a positive and confidence building experience for girls and teenagers.
They will be given the chance to make new friends as well as win prizes and awards.
There are two other competitions run in tandem, Little Miss Teen Great Britain and Miss Junior Teen Great Britain, covering from 10 to 19-year-olds.
Donations can be made to Grace’s fundraising page for Together for Short Lives via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/grace-maher.