Another crown for beauty queen stripped of title

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The Independent Online

A beauty queen who was stripped of her title after lying about her age was today celebrating another crown.

Laura Anness lost the Miss Cornwall title after organisers discovered she was 27 and not 22 as she declared on her entry form.

She lost a 12-month modelling contract, £2,000 worth of prizes as well as the chance to compete in Miss England and potentially Miss World.

She also lied about living in Saltash, Cornwall, when she was actually from Plymouth, Devon.

The Miss Cornwall rules state that entrants must be 17 to 24 years old and living, working or studying within the county.

But the language teacher managed to put it all behind her and was crowned Miss Plymouth City on Saturday at the Oceana in Plymouth. She will now compete in the Miss Great Britain finals in November near Bristol.

The Miss GB website still stated her date of birth as April 9 1988 but organisers verified she was really 27 by looking at her passport.

They decided to let her compete as she still qualified within the 18 to 29 year age range.

Liz Fuller, who owns Miss GB, said: "When she entered in January she must have put that date of birth.

"She has come clean about her age. She has come forward and shown me her passport and I have decided that she can compete.

"I have forgiven her. I appreciate this girl is trying to make a new life for herself.

"When she comes to the beauty pageants, she is the most polite, well turned out and beautiful girl you could wish to meet."

Becky Chapman, 38, Miss Cornwall organiser, came across Miss Cornwall entry forms completed by Miss Anness as far back as 2006 when she was cleaning her office.

Miss Anness had put her age as 22 in that year and also in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

She admitted she had lied about her age to "follow her dream" when Ms Chapman confronted her with the evidence.

Miss Fuller said Miss Anness scored full marks in the swimsuit, evening gown and beauty categories and added: "I think Laura has had a really difficult time. She made one mistake with her age.

"She just wants that break and I like seeing girls that are so determined to win. This is her second chance."

Miss Fuller lifted the 65-year-old ban on single mums and divorcees to give all women equal opportunities and Miss Anness is a single mum.

The former Miss Great Britain and TV host also called for changes to the Miss England and Miss World rules.

Unlike the latter, Miss Great Britain is not affiliated with an international competition.

"I do think Miss England and Miss World are outdated," she said.

"They need to come up to date and need to change their rules."

Miss Anness said: "I have worked very hard recently travelling to do many pageants across the UK, as well as buy dresses from America so I looked incredibly polished.

"Because of this hard work and what happened recently it has made this victory all the sweeter.

"I am very excited to be in the Miss Great Britain finals in November and that all my hard work paid off.

"I have realised honesty is very important and with Miss Plymouth City, I went to the extent of asking the Oceana venue if my daughter could come and watch.

"Having her with me with my family softened me as well on stage, it was very emotional.

"Miss Great Britain is now, in my opinion, the best pageant and one that reflects our changing society.

"A lot of us girls past the 24 age mark are still beautiful, are proud of what we have achieved and have nowhere to showcase it."