WEYMOUTH’S Carnival Queen competition is being replaced by a charity-supporting ‘Miss Weymouth’ contest.
Organisers say recent wearers of the crown have been acting more as a town ambassador supporting good causes, rather than just being a beauty queen for the day.
An independent Miss Weymouth contest – which will have three winners representing different age groups – is being developed to ‘breathe life into an old format’.
Promoted as a charity beauty pageant, it will be supporting local cancer charity Weldmar Hospicecare Trust Winners will participate as usual in the carnival, continuing the Carnival Queen tradition, but there will be no longer any formal links with the event.
The move follows the break-up of the Ladies Alive fundraising group which organised the competition for several years.
Weymouth Carnival 2014 chairman Elysia Munday, who was queen in 2012, has got together with a team to develop Miss Weymouth. She has support from former queens including Natalie Fry (2010), Lucy Compton (2011) and current holder Gina Hartley.
There was uproar in 2009 when previous organisers proposed scrapping the carnival queen contest, claiming it was ‘outdated’, in favour of a ‘community champion’. They did a U-turn after a backlash.
Elysia said she was ‘well aware’ of that incident and said her plans were totally different.
She said she had ‘no issues’ with the carnival queen’s beauty pageant format and wanted this to continue, but wants to encourage women and girls to enter who may have felt restricted in the past.
Participants will be encouraged to fundraise and the winner in the 18+ category will compete in the finals of The Face of the World competition, a global charity pageant.
Elysia said: “I’m so excited to be unveiling this new, independent competition. It will encourage girls and women of all shapes and sizes to showcase their fantastic personalities, share why they think they would be the perfect candidate to represent our borough and support outstanding causes.”
Ladies Alive disbanded at the end of 2013 as members had other commitments.
Sue-Jane Smith from the group, said: “We are pleased to pass the responsibility for the election of the town’s ambassador to an exciting team.”
MISS Weymouth will have three age categories – Junior Miss (7-12), Teen Miss (13-17) and Miss (18+).
There is no upper age limit for the contest.
There will also be awards for Miss Charity, Miss Personality, Miss Elegance and Miss Congeniality.
Organisers are forming partnerships with local businesses for support and sponsorship. These include hairdressers, fashion retailers, beauty salons, florists, and others.
Full details of the entry process will be announced at a later date but if you are interested in getting involved, or want to support is as a business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org