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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Car crash on way to finals fails to stop Eden Valley woman winning Miss Cumbria title

Not even a car accident caused by black ice on her way to the finals could put the skids on Debbie Ingram’s bid to be crowned Miss Cumbria.

Debbie Ingram photo
Debbie Ingram

The 22-year-old was in a car that ended up in a ditch on the way to the competition’s finals at Carlisle Racecourse. Thankfully, she and another competitor, Shema Haque, 23, both escaped unhurt.

And their scrape certainly did not affect their chances in the competition – with Debbie, of Long Marton, near Appleby, taking the county crown and Shema, of Penrith, second.

Debbie will now fly the flag for Cumbria in the finals of Miss England.

It’s an achievement the university student says she still can’t believe she’s reached.

She said: “When I wake up and see the crown’s still there, I think ‘it’s real’.

“The competition was tough. All the girl’s who took part were absolutely amazing.

“I can’t wait for the finals. It’s still not really hit me. I just hope I can do Cumbria proud.”

Debbie, a former pupil of Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, combines part-time modelling work with her geography studies at Edinburgh University. She got her first modelling break through The Cumberland News, posing for fashion photo shoots, and has already taken steps to compete on the international stage.

Aged 17, she took part in Miss Teen Queen UK and has since gone on to take part in competitions in China and Germany.

Debbie fended off competition from 35 other girls to take the Miss Cumbria crown.

She is currently using some modelling work for the likes of catalogues and retailers to help bankroll her through university.

“It’s always fun. I love modelling but think I’d want to get a proper job as well. It’s a good way of paying my way through university.”

At 5ft 8in, however, she says she’s not considered tall enough to do catwalk work – an aspect of modelling she was able to enjoy and embrace at Saturday’s finals.

The 36 finalists took to the catwalk in a four-scene fashion show and awards ceremony in front of a vocal sell-out audience, who at one point gave the girls a six-minute standing ovation.

Each finalist modelled sportswear, evening wear, eco-wear and commemorative T-shirts from The Lanes shopping centre with the motto ‘Celebrating Young Women in Cumbria’.

On their way to the catwalk finale, each contestant had to take part in a panel interview at Carlisle’s Hallmark Hotel and raise money for the Variety Club Children’s Charity.

Events ranged from fundraising with firefighters to one contender walking through Carlisle in a wetsuit, snorkle and flippers.

For Debbie’s part, she organised a fashion show at The Office in Botchergate to raise money, as well as taking part in a 10k run and selling cakes.

All of the contenders learned more about and promoted so-called sustainable fashion and environmental issues by creating outfits for an eco-scene at the finals. These outfits had to be borrowed, bought from a charity shop or created from recycled or ethically-sourced materials.

A stunning end to the show included outfits made of leaves, scrap metal, vinyl records and 1960s outfits.

For the first time this year, there was a Junior Miss Cumbria competition for 13 to 16-year-olds to introduce younger girls to volunteering, charity work, green issues and modelling.

Deborah will now be entered into the Miss England final, taking place in June next year.

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