SOUTH Wales beauty Lucy Whitehouse is preparing to jet off to South Africa to take part in the 59th Miss World pageant.
Lucy, from Barry, was crowned Miss Wales during the summer and will be one of the contestants travelling to Abu Dhabi on November 10 and then on to Johannesburg where the competition will be held on December 12.
She entered the Miss Wales competition by chance but is now in the running to become the third Miss World from Wales, since Barry’s Helen Morgan briefly donned the crown 35 years ago.
Lucy, 21, who as part of her Miss Wales duties met soldiers returning from Afghanistan at a medal ceremony in St Davids earlier this month said: “I’m really looking forward to it.
“I’m hoping to take letters from children in Holton Junior School in Barry, to a school in Johannesburg as part of the school’s around- the-world pen pal initiative.
“Getting the chance to do this sort of thing is one of the joys of being Miss Wales. I am also delighted to be raising money throughout the year for The Joshua Foundation to upgrade a house in Fishguard that is a holiday home for children with terminal cancer.”
Lucy, a nurse at Barry Hospital, said: “My life has changed since I became Miss Wales. I have reduced my hours at the hospital and I have had a lot of engagements, met a lot of people and learnt a lot. It’s been a great experience.”
Lucy’s childhood ambition was to become a ballet dancer, but she only decided to enter a beauty contest earlier this year when she came across details for the Miss Vale of Glamorgan competition while surfing the net.
On travelling to South Africa, the former pupil at Barry’s Holton Road Junior School and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive said: “There is a chance I’ll meet Nelson Mandela. That would be a real honour.
“I’m not getting my hopes up too high about winning the competition, but I’ll certainly do my best.
“What I am really looking forward to is travelling around the world next year promoting the Joshua Foundation.”
Her mother, Denny, a former Vale of Glamorgan Woman of the Year winner, said: “The fairytale has happened for my daughter.