A beauty queen who took time out of competing to focus on her fashion label and has seen her dresses donned by TV soap stars is returning to the pageant arena.
April Banbury has entered the Miss London City finals in the hopes of going on to be crowned Miss GB, and she’s doing it in memory of her grandmother Dorothy who suddenly died earlier this year.
Now 25 years old, April has spent the last year concentrating on her fashion label and her hard work has paid off with television stars being snapped in her handmade gowns.
Kierston Wareing, who played Kirsty Branning in EastEnders, has been pictured in April’s swimwear and gowns and Gemma Oaten, who played Rachel Breckle in Emmerdale, has worn her dresses, as has former WAG and television presenter Lizzie Cundy.
April, of Nash Mills, Hemel Hempstead, now has hopes of designing for 1980s ‘Macho’ singer Sinitta, along with more television stars from EastEnders and Broadchurch.
But her success this year has been tinged with tragedy as April unexpectedly lost her grandmother, who raised her from the age of eight, to cancer earlier this year.
“I’m doing this for myself and also for her,” said April. “I definitely feel like she is watching over me and encouraging me and pushing me to do more and to do the best I can.”
“It has been the worst year of my life and the best year of my life.”
April, who was crowned Miss Hertfordshire Galaxy in 2011 and during the same year competed for the affections of Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson in the TV show The Bachelor UK, credits Dorothy with giving her the confidence to overcome bullying and an eating disorder to begin competing in pageants.
The keen supporter of charities, including Age UK, said: “I really want to give my all to this and see how well I do. It is great fun.
“They do so much for worthy causes and it shows that beauty pageants aren’t all about having a pretty face, it’s also about inner beauty and brains as well.
“With Miss GB you get to choose a charity you want to work with, I have chosen Cancer Research on this occasion but in the past I have worked with anorexia and bullying charities to raise awareness.”
To vote for April text: MISSLC 06 to 64343 and to find out more visit www.missgreatbritain.co.uk