Former soldier Georgia Delaney has put down her rifle and hopes to pick up a crown as she heads into the Miss South West of Great Britain competition.

The 23-year-old, of Bremhill View in Calne, left the 2 Royal Welsh Regiment, based in Tidworth, in September after being diagnosed with Non-Freezing Cold Injury which means the tips of her fingers are numb so she cannot fire a rifle.

The mother-of-two is now focusing her time on her sons, two-year-old Henry and eight-month Oscar, as well as entering pageants.

She said: “When I was in the Army and doing pageants it was nice because I would spend the week with my hair scraped back and no make-up on and then at the weekend I could dress up. It was a nice change, and then when I told people I was in the military they were like ‘what, really?’ “People just expect women in the military to be manly but there is a different range of military women.

“The reason I started pageants is to show people that you don’t have to be a certain type of person to be in pageants.

“Pageants have a really bad reputation, especially from people watching the American pageants on TV, but they don’t get to see what happens backstage.

“It gives people who don’t have good self-esteem a real confidence boost.”

Miss Delaney, the current Miss Charity Heart, is a finalist in the Miss South West of Great Britain on August 10 in Bristol which will see her compete in three rounds, cocktail, evening gown and swimwear.

If she is successful she will go on to the Miss Great Britain finals in November.

She said: “I’m really excited because I’ve got a lot of support from the local community.

“The winners do a lot for charity. If I win I want to help a dementia charity because my grandma [Shirley Delaney] died of the disease.”