Paxton girl a finalist in Miss Universe GB

STUNNING Georgia Graham has won a place in the finals of a prestigious beauty pageant after beating off competition from 500 other hopefuls.

The 19 year-old from Paxton has been chosen as one of 40 finalists in the Miss Universe GB final after winning through a regional qualifier in Glasgow.

"I was astonished to be chosen because it's such a tough competition, so I'm really pleased," said the former Berwick High School pupil.

She will now head to the national finals in Birmingham on May 3 with dreams of making it to the international Miss Universe contest later in the year.

But first, Georgia has to secure sponsorship and raise money for The Joshua Foundation, a charity which helps terminally ill children have life experiences, day trips, holidays, gifts and memories.

Last year, the 40 girls who competed in the Miss Universe GB final raised 35,000 - enough to take 25 families to Lapland for the day - and the target has been raised to 50,000 this year.

"I'm going to be taking part in a number of fund-raising events over the next few weeks to raise as much as I can," she said.

The winner of Miss Universe Great Britain will receive an incredible prize package including an all expenses paid three-week visit to Miss Universe 2009, a contest owned and run by American tycoon, Donald Trump.

She will also visit Australia, Mexico, Mongolia and Lapland in her capacity as ambassador for The Joshua Foundation and will be based for the year in New York living in Trump Tower.

Last year, Georgia made it to the finals of Miss Earth Edinburgh in the Miss Earth UK competition - ranked third most important beauty pageant behind Miss World and Miss Universe.

She has also done a bit of modelling in the past when she was on the books of Newcastle-based agency BoHo and last summer did a four page spread in lads mag 'Front'.

"Going down to London for the photoshoot was a really good experience and I'd love to do some more," admits Georgia.

And she hopes the Miss Universe contest, with its high profile, could give her the big break she has been looking for.