Sunderland beauty queen helps stroke victims

Anya Gould when she was crowned Miss Sunderland in 2013. Picture by Rubicon Photography.
Anya Gould when she was crowned Miss Sunderland in 2013. Picture by Rubicon Photography.
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A Sunderland beauty queen is helping stroke victims after her stepfather was struck down by the condition.

Anya Gould, 21, from South Bents, is gearing up to compete in two international pageants and will be supporting the Stroke Association.

She was inspired to support the Stroke Association as her chosen charity after her stepfather, Ray Stephenson, had a stroke in 2013, which left him with loss of vision and weakness in his left-hand side.

Ray was supported by the Stroke Association’s Family and Carer Support Service during his recovery.

Anya, a former Miss Sunderland who placed fourth in Miss Great Britain 2014/2015, will compete in Miss International UK, and Miss Intercontinental England, in Lancashire, this weekend.

The beauty queen visited the Stroke Association team this week to meet the charity’s staff and discuss fundraising opportunities, which will see her take part in the Stroke Association’s Halloween Zip Wire for her first challenge.

She said: “I’ve chosen to support the Stroke Association to help them continue supporting stroke survivors to make their best possible recovery, as they come to terms with a life after stroke.

“My stepdad Ray was supported by Brenda Walker at the Stroke Association and it made a huge difference during his recovery.

“He likes to keep busy, but as he was unable to work after his stroke, he seemed lost.

“The charity helped to give gave him a purpose again. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to get involved with charity work.

“I want to be a role model and encourage other young people to do more for charities and their communities.”