A BEAUTY pageant contestant had mixed emotions after missing out on a title at the Miss England contest - but winning another and being put forward for one she hadn't entered.

University student Holly Finlay was a runner-up in the semi final stage of the competition in the Miss Photogenic category on Friday night.

Instead the 19-year-old was crowned winner of the Miss Charity award after raising more than £2,000 with a sponsored swim.

And there was more good news for her after being selected for the semi final stages of the Miss Essex contest - despite coming from Amersham.

Holly said: "My dad has a company based in Essex - your link doesn't have to be particularly strong, as long as you have one."

She added: "It was quite bittersweet. I lost the title but I've still got another opportunity and I had such a brilliant time. I never thought I'd get this far.

"I feel like I've been rewarded for all my hard work."

Last month Holly raised £2,020 for the Refuge charity, which raises money for victims of domestic violence. The total amount raised by all the models in the Miss Charity category was £5,000.

Her spell in the spotlight has meant she's had the chance to try some professional modelling for the first time, having been turned away from several agencies because of her height.

And it's also helped with her Film and TV Studies course at London's Regents University.

She said: "I did a shoot last week with a clothing company, and I've been making a documentary at university about beauty pageants. It's really helped me with my university career and enabled me to be more precise with my research."

The Miss Essex semi final takes place at Westcliff-on-Sea on Wednesday, April 30.