Doncaster teenagers battle it out for beauty crown

Maryann Cunningham
Maryann Cunningham

Two teenage Doncaster beauty queens have their hearts set on success tomorrow - as they aim to make it a Valentine’s Day with a difference.

Pretty Maryann Cunningham and Rhianna Higgins both have their sights set on Miss World - and tomorrow they will be hoping to take the first step on the road to the world’s most famous beauty pageant when they take part in the finals of Miss South Yorkshire in Sheffield.

Thorne teenager Maryann, aged 18, will battle it out against scores of other girls in a bid to land a place in the Miss England finals - with the winner going on to the glittering Miss World finals.

She said: “I am really looking forward to it. I want to show people that taking part in competitions like this can help to give young girls confidence.”

Doncaster College student Maryann is no stranger to beauty pageants - the teenager, who lives in Columan Street, is the reigning Miss York.

She said: “The entry rules meant I lived within the right radius to become winner.

“I loved taking part last year and I have loved every minute of it.”

It will also be the second time the former North Axholme school student has taken part in the finals of Miss South Yorkshire - she entered the contest at Sheffield’s Hilton Hotel last year but missed out on the top spot.

And, on Friday, she will once again do battle on the catwalk against more than 20 other hopefuls from across the country, competing in a variety of rounds.

She added: “It’s not about bikini modelling or anything like that - that’s the bad sterotype people seem to have.

“The sections are very tasteful and the organisers want everyone to be as natural as they can be. They are looking for a girl with a personality, someone who can promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy living.”

And to that end, Maryann will be modelling fitness and sports wear as well as sporting outfits made from recycled items and an evening wear round.”

She said: “I have been raising money for charity too with a car boot sale and coffee mornings and as Miss York I ran the York 10K and judged at the Ladies’ Day Ebor meeting.”

She is looking forward the contest.

Hall Cross School sixth-former Rhianna Higgins will need a head for heights when she enters the Miss South Yorkshire heat of the Miss England beauty contest in Sheffield this week.

The 17-year-old from Tickhill Road, Balby, is also committed to carrying out a sponsored sky dive on May 9 in North Lincolnshire to raise money for the Beauty with a Purpose children’s charity. Rhianna is too young for the parachute jump at the moment but will have celebrated her 18th birthday by then.

Beauty with a Purpose was created by Julia Morley, wife of Miss World founder Eric Morley. “Many of our contestants are so motivated by Beauty With a Purpose they create their own activities to improve the lives of others.”