Let’s hope Laura is hard to beat!

ARRESTING SIGHT: Beauty pageant challenger Laura Bamford wants to make her home town proud
ARRESTING SIGHT: Beauty pageant challenger Laura Bamford wants to make her home town proud

POLICE community support officer Laura Bamford is hoping she’ll be hard to beat in a regional beauty challenge this weekend.

Laura is one of 25 finalists competing in the Miss Yorkshire 2012 competition in Leeds on Sunday.

And the Cleckheaton title hopeful says the event is aimed at changing ideas about beauty pageants.

“One of the visions of the event is to celebrate and promote the qualities of young women in the community and focus on their motivations and talent as well as their beauty, style and fashion,” said Laura, 22.

“It also highlights the multicultural diversity of the region and the different backgrounds of applicants.”

The competition - at the O2 Academy in Leeds - features women from a range of careers.

“I work as a police community support officer and one motivation for entering the contest was to show others that although I work in a male-oriented environment, wearing a uniform and scraping my hair back every day, I also enjoy showing off my feminine side every once in a while!” said Laura, who went to Whitcliffe Mount School.

“I want to change people’s views and show that hard-working, career-minded women can be beautiful too and celebrate their aspirations.

“I want to make my home town of Cleckheaton proud. I will strive to make the most of this opportunity and hope to wear the Miss Yorkshire crown come Sunday.

“I want to send out a positive message to other young women in the community who share my ambitions and passions.”

The competition is also supporting Clic Sargent, a charity supporting the families of children and young adults with cancer. For every ticket sold, organisers will donate £5 to finalists’ causes.

In a bid to promote local businesses, each applicant will also wear a sash bearing the company logo of a sponsor.

Laura said: “The sponsors helped us through an eight-week ‘boot camp’ experience where all budding models got rigorous training in cat-walking, confidence-building and positive-thinking.”