Queen hails ‘amazing’ community work of Cornerstone… beauty queen that is

A Miss Great Britain qualifier has hailed the work of Cornerstone’s community hub team as ‘amazing’ and vowed to use her national title to help underprivileged children achieve through sport.

Lydia Rowlands, whose mum and dad were born in Hartlepool, was recently crowned Miss Milton Keynes and will represent the Buckinghamshire town in the UK competition joining 30 other young women.

Lydia met Cornerstone housing manager Natalie Lithgo and volunteers at The Cracket Hub in Owton Manor in one of the venue’s regular community drop-ins.

The 21-year-old was visiting her family in the town and, after hearing good things about Cornerstone and its work at its shop/hub at 13 Wynyard Rd in Owton Manor, decided to take a look for herself.

Volunteers quickly had Lydia involved and staining furniture made at the charity’s joinery factory in County Durham while she learned more about the charity’s housing support and signposting work with homelessness, rough-sleeping, and its work to reduce disadvantage in its communities. 

Speaking at the Cracket, Lydia praised the volunteers and the work at the Cracket shop/hub: “I think the name of The Cracket is great and this charity, the team and the culture you’ve created is just amazing, she said, “The volunteers that I’ve met are lovely, hardworking and ambitious as well. Speaking with the volunteers has given me great insight into all of the work you guys are doing here.”

Although a strong contender to win the Miss Great Britain title, the graduate of the University of Surrey is not content with personal victory and in an article with her local newspaper, MKCITIZEN, Lydia said her life goal now is to set up a sports organisation for underprivileged children and winning the crown could turn that into reality, adding that she had dreamed about winning the title since she was al little girl and that the pageant is important because it gives women a platform to communicate their story and to spread positive messages.

The article was promoting her 24-hour netball fundraising effort for her chosen charities Alex’s Wish and Cancer Research. But Lydia told Cornerstone that even if she did not win Miss Great Britain, she would still pursue her goal to provide easier access to sporting facilities, equipment, and events alongside education for young athletes and upcoming sportspeople as well.

“Miss Great Britain will hopefully provide me with a platform to raise awareness but If I wasn’t to win, I’d still pursue creating this organisation for underprivileged kids because I’ve got a lot of ties with netball clubs and a lot of experience with the sport of netball.”

Although Lydia was not born in Hartlepool she says it still feels like home and joked about its great weather.

“My mum and dad were born and raised in Hartlepool and all of my family are from Hartlepool and ever since I was a little girl we’ve visited family up here and my dad has decided to retire back to Hartlepool so I’ll be visiting a lot, she said, “I’ve got great childhood memories and Hartlepool is such a great place with all of its natural scenery and the ocean, the great weather, the arcades, and the fish and chips – all of that homely stuff that makes Hartlepool feel like home.”

The live final will be held in mid-September and the public will have a chance to vote for their favourites beforehand on the Miss Great Britain website.

For more information about community services and drop-in at Cornerstone’s hubs, follow us on social media using CornerstoneSH or check out our website at www.cornerstone-north.org

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