Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 12:40 UK

Beauty queen win sparks local row

Janeena Basra courtesy of Runcorn & Widnes World
The 23-year-old has been modelling since last August

A beauty queen from Leeds has sparked a pageant row after winning a title across the Pennines.

Janeena Basra, 23, from Farnley, won the title of Miss Halton Pride in Cheshire to secure a place in the final of the Miss England contest on Friday.

But Miss Basra's success has caused resentment in Halton because some people think the winner should have been from nearby Runcorn or Widnes.

Miss Basra said: "I can't understand it, there are no restrictions."

The beauty queen, who has a degree in Human Nutrition and is awaiting the result of a Masters from the University of Manchester, said: "I did not experience any hostility at the competition from fellow contestants.

Beauty Queen win sparks row

"But after I won when I was getting changed in the public toilets with my crown still on a woman said it was a shame I'd won."

More than 50 comments have appeared on a local newspaper website voicing displeasure.

One person wrote: "Where is the justice in a girl from Leeds being crowned?"

Another read: "Isn't it about time that Miss Halton was picked from girls who actually live in Halton.

"I bet the new Miss Halton had never even heard of the place until a few weeks a go."

Miss Basra, who is looking ahead to the Miss England final, said: "I can see why some people wanted a local girl to win but I think some of the comments are ridiculous.

"I'm not going to let it get me down."

The Leeds beauty queen added that she wants to use the competition experience to improve her public speaking so she can go on to talk about the importance of nutrition for young people.

A spokesman for Miss Halton Pride was unavailable for comment.

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