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Grace Richardson, Miss Leicestershire 2024: Why Miss England?

By 23rd April 2024 No Comments

Image @grey_falena

Grace Richardson, Miss Leicestershire 2024: Why Miss England? 

in Grace’s own words 

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read about my journey.

Since being crowned Miss Leicestershire, in February,  I am often asked if this is what I do full-time now – attend charity events and fundraise. People are  shocked when I say I am completing a full-time musical theatre degree, work two part-time jobs, as well as fundraising; attending events and working with numerous organisations who make a difference to the people of Leicestershire and Rutland. Life is busy but very fulfilling.

Born and raised in Leicester. My mum says I was humming and dancing before I was able to walk and talk. I have enjoyed being part of many dance and musical theatre organisations over the years, including Curve Young Company, Ann Olivers; and Leicester College of Performing Arts (LCPA) where I am currently completing a Trinity Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre

I began modelling, aged sixteen, with Creative UK and have walked for numerous fashion designers at Leicester, London, and Birmingham Fashion Week events.

Image: Tamara Tavares

 I was introduced to Miss Leicestershire & Miss England by a friend who knows I enjoy performing, modelling, raising awareness of key issues and raising funds to help support those in need. I am glad I decided to take part. I am really enjoying the journey and the opportunities the Miss England organisation brings.

Here is a little more about me.

The reasons that drive me to help others, the reasons behind my decision to take part  in Miss England.

From an early age, I have been a voice for those who needed someone to advocate for them, when they felt unable to do so themselves.

I am one of five. Two of my siblings have Autistic Spectrum Disorder. One also has ADHD, the other has OCD and anxiety. Two of us suffered with bladder issues and phobias. All of us, except my dad, are dyslexic. It’s lot – I know!

Many may understand what it feels like growing up in a household  where a sibling (or child) struggles to cope if the  environment is too noisy, their clothes feel uncomfortable, they feel misunderstood. They struggle  to find the words to explain how they feel.  In a house where calm can turn to storm in seconds you learn to read the signs. To help alleviate the strain on your mum’s weary face. To be the voice your sibling cannot find when trying to explain how they feel to others.

School, for most, is a safe space. A happy environment where they can learn and enjoy interacting with their peers. For others it is respite from the trauma of homelife. For some, school  feels lonely and  frightening. And it does not stop at the school gate. It did not for me.

On the surface all looked rosy. However, the bulling had already begun in primary school and dramatically increased at secondary school.

Whilst completing a Sports Leadership course I received  comments such as “we don’t want girls on our team” even being slim and athletic in stature seemed a reason for people to make insensitive comments.

A group of individuals even discussed ways in which they wished me dead, via a social media platform  marketed as a place to anonymously provide positive, uplifting, feedback to others. Whilst unable to prove who shared such comments it was obvious; the perpetrators knew me well. People I thought were my  friends.

The years of taunting I received was nothing compared to what was to follow when I came out as gay. In this day and age where we are taught acceptance and inclusion, I was not prepared for the verbal and physical abuse I received from my peers.

I knew there were members of the LGBTQ+ community within the school, within the very groups I was being excluded from. They approached me, in secret, and told me how brave I was, and that they could not come out. Not after what they had witnessed me go through.

The main bully would spit insults at the back of my head during lessons. Then one morning he tried to throw a punch at me. There were so many bystanders who could have chosen to speak up to the misogynistic and homophobic behaviour. To agree and say, ‘you’re right, that’s wrong’ (Leicestershire Police, 2024),

Despite all of this, I found the courage to stand up. To be heard. To find those staff members who were sympathetic. To collaborate on PSHE lesson content. Run assemblies, create a support network. To improve  LGBTQ+ inclusion. Initially within my school, but to create  a ripple of change that led to a trust  wide LGBTQ+ inclusion  program for staff and students.

It is important to me, that people know they are not alone. Whether that is someone with communication difficulties, those from the LGBTQ+ community. The  ‘640 million women who have experienced physical or sexual violence’(UNESCO, 2024). The ‘women who experience sexual harassment whilst commuting to work’ (British Transport Police, 2024).The millions affected by cancer. If we learn to spot the signs, to speak up, and support others – even in a small way, then  together we can make a massive difference to the lives of so many.

Through my time visiting different charities, and talking to people, I have learnt  that our experiences shape us. They make us who we are. They are often the driving force – fuelling us to take action. To turn negative experiences into  good, so that others may not have to experience what so many before have.

I am grateful for the platform the Miss England competition has granted me. Should I be lucky enough to win Miss England 2024, I would like to continue to work in partnership with organisations who help ‘reduce inequalities in and through education to promote inclusion and combat gender-based violence’ (UNESCO, 2023). Additionally,  I would like to continue to fundraise for cancer charities, because with  1 in 2 of us likely experience cancer within our lifetime it is important that services such as Sue Young Cancer Support and Balls to cancer  are available for all those affected by this terrible disease.

Thank you again, for taking the time to read my backstory, why I support different organisations, and have chosen to take part in Miss England.”

Grace is one of 40 women competing in the final of Miss England at the Grand Station Wolverhampton on 16th & 17th May sponsored by Watermans Hair .


For more information regarding the campaigns mentioned please visit:

British Transport Police, 2024.

Available at: www.btp.police.uk/news/btp/news/england/over-a-third-of-women-have-been-sexually-harassed-on-their-commute-to-work.

Leicestershire Police, 2024. Available at: www.thatswrong.co.uk.

UNESCO, 2024. Available at: www.unesco.org/en/gender-equality

UNESCO, 2024. Available at: www.unesco.org/en/articles/unesco-action-gender-equality-2022-2023