A STUDENT teacher with a passion for shopping has been crowned Miss Durham.

Sophie Wallace, of Annfield Plain, near Stanley, triumphed over a bevy of other beauties at the final of the prestigious pageant on Saturday, April 26.

The 20-year-old, who is studying early years’ education at Leeds Trinity University in West Yorkshire, will go on to represent the county at Miss England in Torquay,Devon, on Monday, June 16.

Hayley McNulty, 18, from Darlington, came second and Jessica Forster, 20, from Durham City, was awarded third place.

Miss Wallace, an aspiring teacher, said: “I had been at university all year and I decided to enter for fun, as it is something completely different.

"I never expected to win and I was shocked when they called out my name.

“I am thrilled and my friends and family are too. We can’t believe it.”

The pageant, at Sedgefield Racecourse, saw the women model a series of outfits, including a dress that reflected their personality and an eco dress, which they made from recycled materials.

Miss Wallace said: “I love shopping so I decided to use shopping bags I already had in my room.

“When they asked which one was my favourite I said Chanel because I am a student and can rarely afford it.”

The contestants also raised more than £4,500 for ABF The Soldiers Charity, with Miss Wallace contributing £700 by taking part in a 21-mile sponsored bike ride.