TWO beauty queens have spoken of their joy at winning national titles.

Rebecca Jane Everson, 31, from Darlington, was named Ms Galaxy UK in the over 30s category at a ceremony in Chorley, Lancashire on March 8 – International Women’s Day. Kayleigh Atkinson, 27, of School Aycliffe, won the title of Mrs Galaxy UK at the same event.

They will now compete against women from around the world in Orlanda, Florida, in August in the international finals.

Ms Everson, who works full time in sales and marketing, said she is still in shock at her win. “Never did I think I would be coming home with the crown and sash,” she said.

“It was my dream to even be successful as Ms Darlington Galaxy and to compete with such amazing girls, but to win is just everything I ever wished for.

“The final was tough there were so many beautiful and inspirational girls that deserved the crown but my hard work and dedication paid off. This is my first ever pageant with no training, so to win is simply amazing.”

Ms Everson, who is sponsored by Leggs Fashion in Skinnergate, Darlington, also won Ms Publicity, Ms Congeniality, Best in Fashion and Best in Interview in her category.  She said: “I am super excited to see what this next year has involved for me and very excited for the international finals in Orlando in August.”

Following her initial win, Ms Everson became involved in supporting several charities and community organisations. She has worked with Zoe’s Place and Daisy Chain in Middlesbrough, County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust charity, and Darlington Town Mission.

She also slept rough at Darlington Mowden Park as part of the CEO sleepout to help raise awareness and funds for homelessness and poverty in Darlington.

A spokesperson for Leggs Fashion said the store was proud to support Ms Everson in her dream. "She has thrown her self into fundraising for lots of charities which is no surprise as whenever we do charity fashion shows she is always front of the queue to model for us,” added the spokesperson.

“We can’t wait to see what her future holds as Ms Galaxy UK and we wish her the very best of luck in the USA.”

Mrs Atkinson, who promotes body confidence for people of any shape or size, also won Mrs Publicity and Best in Fashion in her section.

She said: "The best make up a girl can wear is her smile. I am a huge believer in being confident in your own skin and shining brightly from the inside. 

The Northern Echo:

Kayleigh Atkinson Picture: BRIAN HAYES

"We live in a world with social media playing a huge part in today’s modern world, and the filters and apps can create such a negative perception of beauty. Our young men and woman are pressured to look flawless when in reality this is not the case."

Other winners from County Durham included Natasha Beaston, who was named Miss Teen Charity and fourth runner-up in her category.