Meet the North Staffordshire teacher who is a Ms Great Britain finalist


A North Staffordshire teacher is gearing up to take part in a very special competition later this year – the Ms Great Britain pageant.

Last year, well-known pageant Miss Great Britain introduced the Ms Great Britain contest for women over the age of 28.

Debbie-Louise Bates, from Kidsgrove, entered the competition in January but didn’t expect to hear anything back – now she’s a finalist.

The 38-year-old is an English Specialist at Congleton High School and a keen charity fundraiser who has raised thousands of pounds within her local community for good causes such as North Staffs Mind and Teenage Cancer Trust.

When she first heard about the pageant, Debbie thought of her sister. But she soon realised that the core of the pageant – which focuses on female empowerment and charity work – would be something she’d really enjoy.

Mum-of-two Debbie said: “I’ve never done any pageants before, but I found myself reading an article about the Ms Great Britain competition.

“As soon as I read it I just thought, ‘this is right up my sister’s street’, because she’s so confident. I sent it over to her and she was like, ‘what are you talking about? This is all about charity, it’s for you, you’ve got to apply.’ I thought about it and decided to just go for it.



Debbie-Louise Bates

“The article I read was all about how the pageant is actively trying to change the beauty stigmas that were once attached to it. Now the competition is so much more focused on body positivity, female empowerment and self-confidence.

“I’m a local girl and I really want to do well for Kidsgrove – I’ve had so much support already from the local community and I’m really grateful. I’ve never done a pageant before so I do feel like I’m going in straight at the deep end.”

As part of the competition, Debbie has been raising money for good causes – but charity work isn’t new for her.

Over the past year, she’s cooked meals for vulnerable people, delivered food to shielders in lockdown and volunteered at her local Covid-19 vaccination centre.

And in December 2019 and January 2020, along with a group of ladies aged between 25 and 75, Debbie took to the stage to perform a choreographed dance to This Is Me, from The Greatest Showman – and raised £9,000.



Debbie after her kidney removal operation in 2015

On May 31, Debbie will be taking on yet another charity challenge – the infamous Three Peaks Challenge – with fiancee Michael and two close friends, Daz and Kerry Peart, to raise funds for Ms Great Britain’s two chosen charities.

She continued: “This year Ms Great Britain has chosen Cancer Research UK and Alex’s Wish.

“I had kidney cancer in 2015 and ended up losing a kidney. I was really lucky and they found it and were able to remove it, and I didn’t need any further treatment. I was so young and the consultants were a bit baffled because it’s usually an older man’s cancer. It doesn’t tend to affect women as much, and I was only 32 at the time.

“I was really lucky that I was able to make a full recovery – but since then Cancer Research UK has been quite close to my heart.

“Alex’s Wish is a charity I’d never really heard about before, but it’s another really good cause. They aim to improve the lives of young boys with Muscular Duchenne Dystrophy. It’s a condition that affects one in every 3,500 boys and is 100 per cent fatal.

“I’m really looking forward to raising money for both charities. I’ve always enjoyed mountain walking, and did Ben Nevis with my dad a few years ago, so I decided to take on the Three Peaks Challenge. I actually shattered my foot on a school trip a few years ago, so I have a foot full of metal now which makes things a bit more challenging.

“When it happened, I was told I’d never wear heels again and I’d be lucky if I didn’t walk with a limp. I was devastated because I loved my heels. I did loads of physiotherapy, really intense, and kept at it, and now my foot is fine. I’ve got a scar, but I can walk. I was back in my heels about 16 months after my operation! I started off with a wedge and worked myself back up to stilettos.”

As well as Cancer Research UK and Alex’s Wish, Debbie is also an ambassador for national charity Girls Out Loud, who work to empower teenage girls and raise their confidence.

In her day job as an English Specialist at Congleton High School, Debbie sees the impact that social media and life in lockdown has had on the confidence of young women.

Debbie said: “I could ask some of the girls I teach what they like about themselves, and they wouldn’t be able to find one thing. I think there does need to be a bit more of an education about how girls talk about themselves and how they see themselves.

“There’s definitely been a shift recently and body confidence and self-love is all over social media, which is really empowering to see, but more needs to be done, which is where Girls Out Loud comes in.”

Debbie says she’s both nervous and excited to take part in the competition – which is due to be held in Leicester in September.

“I’m a mixture of emotions but I do feel more excited than nervous, purely because of the camaraderie I’ve already experienced through meeting other finalists online.

“Plus, I’ve got two teenage boys, and they’re not very interested in glitz and glam. When you’re in a house full of boys, it’s nice to do something girly for a change. It’s such an exciting thing to do and I really want to make my family and friends proud.

“I’ve not met any of my fellow finalists in person yet, but I’ve been able to chat to them online. Everyone has been so welcoming and offered me so much support already.

“Competing has given me the confidence to use my voice to share my story, which hopefully empowers other people to do the same.”

To keep up with Debbie’s journey as a Ms Great Britain finalist, you can follow her on Instagram.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *