By Hollie Bone
A newly-qualified nurse is in the running to be crowned Miss England 2020 – after last year’s junior doctor winner inspired hundreds of NHS staff to enter the pageant.
Chloe Webb, 24, achieved her lifetime dream of beginning a career as a fully qualified nurse at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital just three weeks ago, having dressed up in homemade nurse’s outfits and played at caring for patients since she was a tot.
But the brunette stunner also discovered nursing gave her the confidence to strut her stuff on the catwalk too – allowing her to overcome teenage body confidence issues by focusing on caring for others around her.
Now, Chloe, originally from Dunstable, Beds, has made it into the semi-finals of the prestigious national pageant with organisers saying more medical staff than ever before have applied this year following the success of current Miss England and junior doctor, Bhasha Mukherjee.
And regal beauty Chloe is even mistaken for Kate Middleton by her patients who often tell her that she looks just like the Duchess of Cambridge with her dazzling smile and luscious locks.
She said: “I really wanted to be a nurse from a young age.
I loved the idea of taking care of people and helping them to feel better.
“I even got my mum to make me a fancy dress nurses outfit to play in when I was five.
“As I got older I saw close relatives fall ill and I’ve always felt overwhelmed with gratitude and admiration for the people that have cared for them or helped them through it.
“When I was younger I struggled with body confidence issues, but when I became a nurse it helped me to stop focusing so much on myself and to focus on others.
“I stopped only seeing my own issues and started doing what I could to resolve other people’s issues.
“I was completely inspired to enter Miss England after seeing Bhasha’s success, but I would never have had the confidence to take part in the pageant without having gone into nursing.
“All my patients tell me that I look like Kate Middleton too. It’s a bit of a running joke in the hospital, but it’s a lovely compliment to be compared to a princess.
“Now I’m here I want to use the platform to carry on showing people that beauty is more than skin deep, it’s about compassion and caring for those around you.”
After taking home the Miss England crown at the glamorous final in August, 2019 contest winner Bhasha started her first job as a newly qualified junior doctor just hours later the following morning.
As well as working as a nurse, Chloe, who has been with doctor boyfriend, George Lafford, 27, for a year, juggles several hobbies including playing the cello, gardening and volunteering at food banks.
The next stage of the contest in June will require her to make an eco-friendly garment out of recycled materials – for which she is planning to rope in mum Ann, 54, with her fancy-dress making stills.
Should her show-stopping outfit take her through to the finals, Chloe will take to the catwalk at Nottingham’s Kelham Hall, in June before a new champion is crowned.
Chloe added: “The camaraderie among all the women so far has been fantastic and so empowering, everyone is so friendly and welcoming.
“It’s been nice having so many other NHS staff entries because you have similar interests and common ground to get talking to people, it’s made settling in just that bit easier.
“It can be quite demanding when you work 12 hour shifts and then you take on new commitments on top of that but it can be done.
“I believe that if you’re doing something because you want to do it and you are passionate you will find the time and make it work.
“I’m excited and nervous for the next round but it’s reassuring to have my mum’s advice and expertise on hand because she made all my costumes growing up, so it seems only right to have her on hand.”
Miss England director Angie Beasley said the contest has been inundated with more entries than ever before from NHS staff this year.
While Bhasha was the first junior doctor to win Miss England, in 2014 Cambridge medical student Carina Tyrell, now a fully qualified doctor, won the contest and finished fourth in Miss World.
Angie said: “Miss England is much more than a physical beauty contest – the girls are encouraged to be an all-round good role model.
“Following the success of Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, the first junior doctor to win Miss England and our current champion, I’ve seen a huge surge of entries from NHS staff and student doctors and nurses.
“The ethos of Miss World is ‘beauty with a purpose’, and I think they have seen the incredible humanitarian work former winners have done during their reign.”