Miss Mansfield reaches 40

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The finalists preparing for this year’s Miss Mansfield contest are part of a very special year - its 40th anniversary.

For four decades young women from across the Chad area have vied for the chance to represent their town and gain vital personal skills in the process.

Those who are fortunate enough to win the crown not only develop through challenging tasks such as public speaking but raise a lot of money for a charity cause of their choice.

And, while its critics dismiss the event as sexist and demeaning, its director Trish Mapletoft says the yearly event is quite the opposite.

“I have a teenage daughter myself,” said Trish. “She sees so many things on the TV that put women in a bad light, like music videos with scantily-clad women gyrating round a rapper.

“Young women and even toddlers are able to see pop stars behaving in this way on a daily basis.

“People think it is Ok for a 5-6 year-old to see that and then criticise Miss Mansfield which does not promote it in any way.”

Although Miss Mansfield candidates are encouraged to wear attractive clothes and focus on their appearance, the contest has not had a bikini segment for years, said Trish.

She added: “I think Miss Mansfield promotes self-esteem and grows confidence. It gives self-belief and teaches new skills like public speaking.

“It is much more about the charity aspect now but I am still keen to emphasise the traditional stuff, like the sash and crown.”

And fundraising undoubtedly plays a big part in the contest, with 2013’s winner Grace Turner on target to raise £5,000 for children’s cancer charity Little Princess Trust.

The event is also a staunch supporter of Mansfield’s Portland College and elderly befriending service the Cornwater Club among other good causes.

Said Trish: “It is still a beauty contest but beauty both inside and out.”

Hollie Hughes won the competition in 2005 said it had proved to be an ‘incredible confidence-builder.’

She added: “Rehearsals were quite intense at times but it was the nicest pageant I have been in really and I still have contact details for some of the friends I made.

“It felt quite old school and you could tell it had been running a long time.”

The finalists for this year’s competition will be unveiled at Mansfield’s Towers Conference Centre, Botany Avenue.

Supporters of the event are all welcome to enjoy a drink and mark its 40th year from 7pm on 27th August.

For more information email trish-missmansfield@hotmail.co.uk.