Miss England hopeful up for final despite illness
She was supposed to be fundraising ahead of her appearance in the grand final of Miss England.
But instead Shelley-Marie Sumner was forced to spend five days in hospital after being struck down by a bout of shingles.
Miss Sumner, who was crowned Miss Black Country in February, had to cancel several important fundraisers as a result of her illness, including a 22-mile hike over the Malvern Hills.
It also meant that her fundraising campaign to raise hundreds of pounds for charity was severely hampered.
But the 22-year-old freelance dance and drama instructor is now back on her feet and preparing for the prestigious Miss England final which takes place in Torquay from June 14 to 16.
She said today: "It's been a hard few weeks for me. I was admitted into New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton on May 22. I got shingles in my eye socket. The doctors said it was an airborne infection.
"Because I was in hospital I had to cancel a fun day I'd organised in Willenhall and also a hike over the Malvern Hills on Sunday (1).
"It's been a massive setback for me because fundraising plays such a massive part in the competition. It really has hampered my preparations.
"I have let the organisers of Miss England know what happened so they understand why I haven't raised as much money as the other girls."
Miss Sumner, who lives in Bentley, Walsall, will compete against 59 other woman in the final of Miss England next weekend.
She has so far raised around £100 for charity as part of her involvement in the contest. She took part in Race for Life at Walsall Arboretum last month before she came down with shingles.
As part of her Miss England involvement she has also had to make an environmentally-friendly item of clothing, which was a dress made from scraps of leather.
Miss Sumner added: "I'm really looking forward to the final. I've got my family coming down with me. I really wanted to win Miss Black Country which I did. It would be lovely to win Miss England but I'm just looking forward to the experience of being in the final.
"It has really boosted my confidence."
When she competed for the Miss Black Country title, Miss Sumner raised £700 for the children's charity Variety.
This Friday Miss Sumner is going to be at Christ Church Primary School in Leamore, Walsall, taking a dance class to raise more money for the Beauty with a Purpose, the chosen charity of the Miss England contest.
The winner of Miss England will go on to represent the country at the final of Miss World.
Miss Sumner is being officially sponsored by friend and neighbour Jade Goodwin who owns Jade's Beauty salon in Bentley. Miss Goodwin did Miss Sumner's nails and make-up ahead of the Miss Black Country final earlier this year.
To donate go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/missblackcountry14
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