A 15-year-old schoolgirl will be flying the flag for Stevenage in a nationwide pageant final today and tomorrow.

Anna-Marie Uzokwe – Miss Junior Teen Stevenage – is one of more than 50 girls who are through to the final in Blackpool.

The John Henry Newman School pupil is raising money for Together for Short Lives, a charity that helps children with serious illnesses.

“I feel proud to represent where I live,” said Anna-Marie.

“It feels really weird because I’m just a normal girl.

“I would have never expected to get this far – it makes me feel special, especially wearing a sash showing that I am representing Stevenage. I’m buzzing!”

Anna-Marie applied to take part in the pageant online and was thrilled to learn first that she had been selected to be a semi-finalist, then that she was through to the final.

She will take part in team-building challenges this afternoon, then a ‘pyjama diva’ competition that night. The grand final is tomorrow.

It’s Anna-Marie’s first time taking part in a pageant, but she’s familiar with competition on the sports field having represented Stevenage and Hertfordshire in athletics.

“I really wanted to see what the pageant world is like as it’s another challenge,” she said.

“It would really help me build my confidence.

“I think most people wouldn’t expect me to be into fashion, hair and cosmetics but I love it just as much as any girl would.

“Life is short, so why not try new things?”

Anna-Marie says her family and friends have been very supportive, both to her and the charity.

“It really feels good to know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

“I’m feeling really confident and I can’t wait to go and meet the other girls in Blackpool.”

To support Anna-Marie’s chosen charity, visit justgiving.com/annamarie-uzokwe.