A BOURNEMOUTH beauty queen is taking part in a brand-new pageant in a bid to help raise money and awareness for charities.

Romy Simpkins, of Queen's Park, is taking part in the first ever UK Power Pageant which means one of four titles is up for grabs.

The 22-year-old - who is currently Miss Bournemouth International - says she wants to use the opportunity to raise funds for Dorset Mind, for whom she is an ambassador, as well as Diverse Abilities and Cats Protection.

"The power pageant is run by the amazing pageant girl team and Holly Louise, the director, searches for women who empower others, to embrace themselves through hard work and dedication," she said.

"This pageant gives opportunities to not one girl but up to eight ladies to experience the opportunity of a life time.

"We are interviewed on the final day as well as taking part in a swimwear and evening round. All three rounds you are judged on your poise, your confidence and how you represent yourself as a person.

"We are judged on our appearance and work - this is to show we are ambitious women who strive to help others.

"I am incredibly proud to represent my town as I work closely with charities and people in the area and I want to inspire others to never give up on their dreams. I don't think there is enough support for people in work and schools about mental health issues - I want to empower people not to give up so easily and bring a positive mind. Pageants have helped me hugely; for me it's a really important experience."

Miss Simpkins will have the chance to take home one of four crowns including Miss International UK, Miss Intercontinental England, Miss Grand England, or World Supermodel UK.

The pageant focuses on raising money for The Christie Charitable fund and will see entrants compete in places such as Japan, Africa and Thailand.