DANCE instructor and model Shelley Ann Simmonds of Newtown is calling on County Times readers to vote for her to realise her dream of becoming Miss Wales 2017.
Shelley is the only Powys contestant in the search for Miss Wales 2017 which reaches its final at Newport this Saturday, April 8, as part of the last three days of judging.
She is currently among the leaders in the public votes for the 30 finalists who will be taking part.
As she prepares for the final Shelley told the County Times: “I never thought I would have the courage to enter into a pageant. Ever since I was a young girl, my mind has been fixated on dance.
“However, over the past year I have challenged myself to get involved in new adventures, and so here I am... a Miss Wales Finalist.
“Entering Miss Wales competition has been one of the most fulfilling achievements to date, I have met so many kind people throughout my journey in the competition and I can’t express enough how grateful I am for their support.
“So far throughout my pageant journey, I have been to visit my old primary school to speak to the pupils about their hopes, dreams and ambitions for their future.
“They were incredibly welcoming and asked plenty of questions about my dreams as a child.
“My response to them was ‘As a young girl I dreamt that one day I would own my own successful Dance School’ I then continued to explain to them that with hard work and determination I am now living that dream.
“I have recently been able to host a Charity Bingo ‘Fab Feb Fundraiser’ at Welshpool which raised £500.31 for Beauty With A Purpose.
“I was lucky enough to have the assistance of a few volunteer students from my Dance School to help with the stalls/raffles at the bingo event.
“In addition to the school visits and fundraising, I have also been to visit a canine shelter to donate valuable items, such as toys/blankets/etc, which they were extremely grateful for.
“One of the most rewarding activities I have been involved in is volunteering at two local primary schools, sharing my talent and abilities to choreograph dance routines for the pupils to compete with at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
“The night of the competition was very emotional and overwhelming for myself and the pupils as they were given five first places, three second places and are now through to the Urdd Eisteddfod finals, which means – not only am I representing Powys, they are too.
“At present, I have organised to take a few of my dance school students to a The Hermitage care home in Welshpool this coming Saturday (April 1) to perform for the residents.
“I am truly lucky to have students who care for our community as much as I do.
“Living in a small town in Powys, large events are few and far between and so being able to attend a pageant training day hosted by Paula Abbandonato and Sara Manchipp (Miss Wales 2011) was an amazing experience.
“The whole day was a huge learning curve. I learnt so much and my personal skills improved throughout the day. I feel the workshop really helped me to find my true self. Aside from the workshop, I also had the privilege of spending time with the other finalists and I am thrilled to be spending finals weekend with them.
“The finals are quickly approaching and I am filled with nerves and excitement. I would like to express my gratitude to the pageant director Paula, as she has kindly shared with us her knowledge and experience and has given us full encouragement throughout.
“Miss Wales Competition is an amazing opportunity for anyone who aspires to be better than they were yesterday, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
“I am honoured to be representing Powys. I would be extremely grateful if members of the public could get behind me and show their support.”
n To vote for Shelley to be crowned Miss Wales 2017 text ‘Welsh Shelley’ to 64 343. Voters must be over 18 and have the bill payer’s permission. Votes made outside the voting period will not be counted but you may still be charged. Each text vote will cost £1 plus standard network charge.
See full story in the County Times