The talent of a budding young performer saw her crowned winner of an international pageant. 

Abi Dunford, 12, from Weymouth, was named Junior Miss British Empire at the British Empire beauty pageant in Buckinghamshire after being selected from more than 1,000 applicants to represent Dorset in the finals.

She is now planning to use her title to raise awareness for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) children’s charity after it looked after her brother Jordan when he was young. 

Abi said: “He was really ill when he was younger and they saved his life. He had auto-immune disease and he stopped growing, and they made sure it didn’t get any worse.

“With my title I want to visit children on the wards in the hospital.” 

Contestants took part in master classes focusing on health and wellness, public speaking, social media etiquette, catwalk skills and stage presence. Abi wowed judges with a musical theatre song and dance piece, choregraphed by Keely Shaw of June Hornby’s Weymouth Dance Studio. 

She impressed so much that her performance came third overall across the Mini, Junior and Teen categories. 

Abi’s mum Claire Dunford said: “This was not at all lovely toddlers and tiaras as I was expecting, it was a fun but serious platform for those who really want a career in the entertainment industry.

“Ever since Abi came to London with me when she was younger, she has wanted to succeed in the industry so she can help achieve good in the world. Whilst walking around London when she was about six, she started crying.

“When I asked her why she was crying she said: ‘why are you not giving these people money Mummy’. I said ‘because I wish I could solve these problems by giving one person money darling, but the world isn’t like that’. 

“She just looked up and said ‘don’t worry Mummy, when I’m famous I can solve it’.”

Alongside wanting to work hard to achieve her dream of sponsoring charities across the world, Abi said she is going to keep raising her profile by auditioning for bigger pageants. She will also be carrying on with her busy training schedule in the hopes of fulfilling her dream of being a part of the entertainment industry. 

Abi was selected to become a member of West End MT management company..

She said: “I’m going to go for a bigger title, Miss Galaxy. If you get through to the next round you have a chance to go to America.