A single mum from High Wycombe has achieved her dream of becoming Britain's first national beauty pageant winner with a colostomy bag.

Rachael Kin, 29, who had her large bowel removed after suffering a severe colon inflammation, has now been crowned Miss Beauty United Kingdom 2019.

Rachael was training for the London marathon when she was rushed to hospital in July 2017 for six weeks after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

She had an ileostomy operation during which a hole in her stomach was created to divert waste from her intestine into a bag.

As a result she said she felt isolated from other people because she did not know anyone her age with a colostomy bag.

Rachael said: "Everybody else, everyone I looked up online were a lot older than me. Anyone who had a colostomy seemed to be 50 or 60 plus.

"Even other people on the ward were in their 70s and that was another big thing for me, I wanted to change that."

She said that the lack of role models for people in her position is what spurred her on to try for a national beauty pageant title: "When I came out of hospital I had nobody to aspire to I suppose or to give me that confidence, that encouragement that I needed.

"I couldn't relate to anybody. I literally thought I was the only one in my twenties who had to go to the toilet in a bag stuck to my stomach forever."

Having previously achieved the Miss Divine Buckinghamshire 2018 she then took part in Miss Beauty UK earlier this year.

She said she was shocked when she was invited to join 39 other girls in the grand final of the event in Cardiff Bay, Wales, on May 5, 2019.

Rachael said that work for the title started long before the main event.

"I had to work as a finalist towards the awards by doing a lot of charitable work.

"I was making a lot of public appearances, trying to get involved in the community and really kind of just getting myself out there and interacting with people as much as I could in the run up."

The event itself consisted of several rounds - an interview, an eco-wear round, a fashion round and an evening wear round.

For the eco-wear round, contestants were encouraged to create their own costumes.

Rachael used plastic bags and netting to make a mermaid costume that raised awareness over the protection of the oceans.

For the fashion round that was optional she bought a white dress and gifted it to her local primary school.

She said: "The school did a lesson on body confidence and all of the children there were from the age of about eight.

"They all wrote a word on to the dress that meant "beautiful" to them."

They wrote words including "respect", "positive" and "smile".

As the judges gave their decision Rachael said: "It was quite intense.

"When they announced the winner of the competition it was very strange, very surreal. I wasn't expecting them to call me at all.

"I was so happy. I think the right world was relieved - relieved that my hard work had paid off. It meant so much to me to be able to take the crown home that day just because of my history and because of the illness.

"And also because of what it would mean going forward in the future. it has given me the platform that I needed to reach out and support the other women in my medical situation.

"To me, it felt like a 'eureka' moment - I had final achieved what I had set out to do and somebody believed in me.

"It was just overwhelming."

Rachael's nine-year-old daughter Maja was in the audience along with Rachael's mum.

She said: "At the moment of winning, everything was a blur. People were coming up and congratulating me and I just don't recall it.

"My daughter was very proud.

"She was always very optimistic about me winning as children are.

"My mum was there as well and she had gone through my whole journey with me - throughout the illness. She was quite pleased, quite proud.

"I don't think anyone really was expecting me to have got so far."

Now she has been crowned, Rachael will hold the title of Miss Beauty United Kingdom for the next 15 months before the next Queen is found in August 2020.

Speaking about what she will do during this period she said: "I want to go forward and use my title to encourage other people to step out of their shell and just become more confident about themselves and see their self-worth and their potential.

"I think that's the main goal for me and if I can do that then I will have achieved what I want to do."

She plans to work closely with St Mark's Hospital Foundation in London which specialises in bowel disease with the aim of raising awareness for the condition.

The mother-of-one said: "My main goal is to be an advocate for people who are struggling with self-confidence, self--worth, body-confidence - whether that's from disability, something major has happened like it did with me that has impacted you physically and I think that is where my strength is.

"Its just a massive step for the stoma world and IBD community."

The funeral care worker said that she would now like to be an inspirational figure like Katie Piper.

She said: "Katie was one person who I thought was going to be relatable if anyone because she had a very successful modelling career like I did and then suddenly there is this game changer.

"And she came through so powerfully, I think there is a gap for somebody like her with her ambitions in the stoma community.

"If she can stand up for burns victims then why can't somebody do that for the stoma community and that what I am aiming for.

"I want their to be more knowledge on it, more openness, more understanding open on it because it is massive. There's so many people who have got one and no one says anything."

Looking back on her win, she said: "This year was my last real chance at winning a Miss title because most competitions only go up to 30 and then you move into a different category become a Ms or Mrs really.

"It was my last chance and I did it."