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Row breaks out over Miss England as £7,000 of public money is spent on beauty queens stripping off in Torquay

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: June 03, 2014

Row breaks out over Miss England as £7,000 of public money is spent on beauty queens stripping off in Torquay

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Bikini-clad Miss England contestants arriving in Devon have become the centre of a widespread debate about whether the competition has a place in modern society.

Torbay Council Labour leader Darren Cowell wasn't too happy the event was being held in Torquay.

He said: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but it's strange you get the stereotypical size 8 and 10 women who enter these competitions.

"I come across many, many women who aren't that stereotypical model image who offer and contribute a huge amount to charity and community who would never dream of being able to enter into such competition.

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"I just think it's out of place and has no place in a modern society."

But the woman behind the Miss England contest, said the modern competition is a far cry from when she took part years ago.

Director Angela Beasley said accusations that the contest was inappropriate nowadays were old fashioned.

The swim wear round of the competition was launched yesterday at Torquay Marina amid reports there was unease that it was getting a £7000 subsidy from Torbay Council to stage the show.

Linda Hill, from the Hospitality Association, who helped bring the event to Torquay, said: “It has given us publicity that money can’t buy.”

She said: “The last thing that this competition is is old fashioned. I invite him to come along and get an accurate view.”

She said that the girls do a lot of good work for charity and work hard at their profession.

She said: “This weekend, Miss Devon will be sitting in a bath of beans in Exeter for a children’s charity. That is not old fashioned.”

She said that the publicity had been brilliant and great for Torbay.

She said: “We want to make Torbay the events capital of the UK and everybody is welcome.

“That is from the UKIP conference to bike races, we want people to come to Torbay.”

Ms Beasley said the view that beauty pageants were degrading was outdated.

She said: “We’ve come a long way from girls just turning up with their heels and swimsuit and walking on a cat walk to be judged.

“Now girls take part in various rounds including a tough sports round – you have to be physically fit.

“The current Miss England ran the London Marathon this year and raised thousands of pounds for childrens’ charities.

“Miss England is about being a good role model.

“There’s a talent round where the girls submit their talent – what they think they’re good at.

“They have to be good at something – it could be their jobs or something they enjoy doing.

“There’s an eco-fashion round where the girls have to create an outfit using recycled materials – they have to be creative.

“It’s not just about turning up in a swimsuit and looking pretty.

“Modelling competitions are about just looks alone.

“Miss England is about being a good all rounder and a good role model.

“This year alone we had 20,000 girls apply to enter the competition.

“When people stop applying to be a role model we’ll stop holding the competition.”

Current Miss England Kirsty Heslewood said she felt the pageant was positive.

“I feel it empowers women to do good things for their country, their communities and be good role models.

“It’s completely changed from how it used to be.

“It promotes fitness and good health.”

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