AN East Lancashire woman has been shortlisted for the Mrs Galaxy UK title – the first beauty pageant in the country for married women.

Graphic designer Cheryl Jepson, 25, had always dreamed of a modelling career, and has seized the chance to make her dream come true.

The competition is open to all women aged 21 and over, who are legally married. The contest has no size, height, or weight restrictions.

Cheryl, from Darwen, said: “I have always been interested in modelling and I just thought I would have a go.”

She sent her photo to the contest and won the title of Mrs Lancashire Galaxy, and will compete in the grand final in March, at the Park Hall Hotel, Chorley, against 50 girls from all over the country.

“I was completely shocked. I didn’t think I would get through. When I contacted them to check, they said they had received hundreds of applications.”

Cheryl met her husband, Chris, who she married last August, aged just four at primary school.

She said: “I have done modelling courses in the past, and I have been an extra in Hollyoaks in my teens, but I chose to concentrate on my GCSEs, instead of pursuing modelling. This is my second, and maybe last chance. It has always been one of my dreams.”

Cheryl also aims to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

The pageant’s Miss Galaxy competition also has two finalists from Rossendale – Charlotte Pilling, 21, from Bacup, who was crowned Miss Lancashire Galaxy, and Leah Hoyle, 20, from Helmshore, who was crowned Miss Rossendale Galaxy.