A former Banbridge Academy student, Nicole Caldwell, is set to take part in the Miss Earth Northern Ireland Final on August 31 at Seagoe Hotel, Portadown.
This is one of three prestigious, global pageants along with Miss World and Miss Universe and the winner will go on to the International finals held in the Philippines in November.
The Miss Earth pageant differs from the other pageants in that it promotes “beauty for a cause”. Miss Earth is an ambassador for environmental protection who campaigns worldwide to raise awareness.
“This contest promotes a clean, natural and healthy environment and encourages life style changes at an early age, which is something that is close to my heart,” said Nicole.
The 21 year old who works as a special needs classroom assistant and lifeguard at Banbridge Leisure Centre said: “I understand the importance of educating our children. I help raise awareness of waste reduction and encourage change in everyday behaviour by prompting our young people to use the 3R’s - Recycle, Reuse and Reduce - the environmental message of Miss Earth.
“I also collect vintage clothes and up cycle unwanted garments along with my mum and sister. We have named our collection ‘Nanny’s Closet’ and use our outfits to hold fashion shows to help fundraise for various charities. I am currently in the process of organising a Fashion Show in June, comprising of 80 outfits that I have collected and up cycled. This is to raise funds for Donard School and Crozier House Old Peoples Home both in Banbridge.
“I am also urging the public to donate unwanted clothing and household items to charity shops. Banbridge town has a fabulous selection of Charity shops which make a huge contribution to the local economy and environment. Many charity shops are struggling since the recession as people are opting to exchange their items for cash, so I would encourage everyone to support their local charity shops when they can.
“Growing up just outside Banbridge in the countryside I understand the importance of protecting our wildlife and preserving their natural habitat including campaigning against illegal dumping.
“I also aim to promote and enhance volunteering in Northern Ireland. The benefits from each of us actively doing something, really do make a difference to the lives of countless people in our community.
“So it’s vital we all respond to the stress we are putting on our environment and work for systemic and cultural changes both big and small. If we each take one small step, together we can achieve great things.”