Big birthday celebrations for special Blackpool lady

Sixties Swingers: Miss Blackpool finalists 1968.

Sixties Swingers: Miss Blackpool finalists 1968.

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She’s looking pretty good for her age. This year, Miss Blackpool turns 60!

The contest, that is. The longest-running seaside beauty competition in the UK.

And organisers hope to make this year extra special to mark the occasion.

Heats for this year’s pageant will begin on June 19 and run every Thursday until July 31, with the final taking place at the Hilton Hotel Blackpool, on August 15.

Karen Jean Cookson, from Angels Elite, which runs the Miss Blackpool contest, said: “I am really excited about this year’s competition.

“We want it to be even bigger and better this year to mark the special anniversary.

“It’s such a great seaside tradition, and sadly many seaside towns have lost their pageants, so we are determined to keep Miss Blackpool going and as popular as ever.

“It builds such great friendships, so many young women have met their best friends through the competition, or made friends for life.

“It really helps to boost confidence and, of course, there is the element of raising money for charity too.

“Those who take part get so much out of it.”

Karen has been involved with the contest since she won the title of Miss Blackpool in 1995.

She ended up helping out the following year, when a choreographer didn’t show up, and eventually she and business partner Sue Knight took over the running and organisation of the contest themselves, at Angels Elite Modelling Agency.

She said: “I enjoyed taking part when I did it. It really does help to build your confidence. It helps you to come out of yourself, you meet new people, you make great friends.

“And the competition is for all girls.

“Some have done pageants before and some have done modelling before, but some have never done anything similar before.

“And whether the girls get through their heat, or whether they get through to the final, they all say how much fun it is. We’ve had girls win who have never done anything like it before and it’s been their first ever competition.”

Karen is also hoping the competition will get more local girls interested in becoming models.

She is holding an open audition day on Sunday, May 18, at the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool, between 11am and 3pm, for male and female models. Anyone over the age of 18 interested in modelling is invited to come along and have an informal chat and find out more.

Karen said: “We are looking for models of all ages, all shapes and sizes.

“If people have modelled before, they can bring along photos or a portfolio – but if they’ve never done it and want to find out more, we would love to meet them.

“There is all sorts of work that could possibly come from working with a modelling agency – fashion shows, wedding fairs, magazines, newspapers and so on.

“We can’t guarantee people work, of course, but this is their chance to find out more and take a first step if they might be interested.”

For more information, visit www.angelselite.co.uk or call (01253) 820226.