An 18-year-old Lakes College student has made it to the finals of the Miss Cumbria 2019 competition.

Shania Wilson, from Salterbeck, got involved in the competition after watching her friend enter and realised how worthwhile it was.

She said: "I applied after my friend took part in Miss Cumbria the year before. I watched her undertake a lot of charity and community work and this really interested me. I then went on to the Miss Cumbria website and was excited by the blurb which spoke about the opportunity to develop as a person, give back to the community and make new friends.”

Ms Wilson has also used the competition to build up her confidence after losing her mother. She said: "I've always really enjoyed going out and helping people I wanted to try and do more of that and after losing my mam three years ago, I wanted to try and build my confidence back up so that I can go back to doing things without letting my anxiety affect me or the way I do things in my life."

During the process, entrants have to raise funds for children's charity, Variety, which helps sick, disabled and disadvantaged children around the country. Children are provided with equipment for everyday life and sorting travel and accommodation for places they need to go to.

Ms Wilson was initially aiming to raise £1,000, but has revised that target to try and get £1,500 after managing to raise £873.30 so far already.

This has been done through events such as a teddy bears picnic; singing at Morrisons supermarket and a charity night.

Future fundraising events include 'a night at the musicals - young and old' planned for March 2 in St John's Church, Workington, where there will be songs from different musicals sung by children, teenagers and adults of all ages; a collection at a Workington Reds match on March 2 and a night in the Railway Club at Workington with a local singer and bingo on March 9. There will also be a 24 hour sponsored readathon.

Shania said: "All the money the Miss Cumbria finalists raises goes back into Cumbria, helping children around here. We also are encouraged to get more involved in our community work, for example I volunteer at the freedom project where I've attended for a number of years having received counselling myself before and after my mum passed."

She is also involved in Maryport Amateurs Operatics Dramatic Society (MAODS).

The Miss Cumbria competition is for women aged between 17 and 26 in Cumbria, but it is also an official heat of Miss England where women from all around the country can enter.

"I've done fundraising in the past with my family for different causes, however I've never competed in anything like a beauty pageant. I've never really been a girl who gets dressed up and fancy all the time. So it is really something different but it's really something I was eager to do to build on my confidence", Ms Wilson added.

The final will be held at Harraby Community Centre in Carlisle on March 23.

More details about the competition, her fundraising and community work can be found on Ms Wilson's Facebook page, Shania Wilson Miss Cumbria 2019 finalist.