New Norwich beauty queen beat the odds to take the crown
A 20-year-old student has defied the odds to recover from a severe back injury to be crowned Miss Norwich 2011.
As a teenager, Amy Spinks broke bones in her back in a serious sporting accident which affected her for more than four years.
But following a courageous fightback, the former Blyth Jex School pupil has beaten off the challenge of 12 other competitors to take the coveted beauty title.
And she is now in the running to compete for the Miss England crown.
But there is more than meets the eye to the blonde-haired and blue-eyed beauty as training to be a doctor is now her key focus in life.
Amy was a talented athlete but broke two bones in her back in 2004 – aged 14 –while taking part in the long jump.
The injury went on to cause Amy further problems and eventually led to her missing her A-Levels when it flared up shortly before her exams.
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It was a tough time for her but now she is determined to not miss out on her ambitions any more. Studying a natural sciences degree with the Open University - as her injury meant she missed her first chance to go to university - Amy dreams of one day going into the medical profession.
The injury prevented her from exercise for four years but from that she discovered a determination to succeed, which last night saw her crowned Miss Norwich 2011.
A delighted Amy, who lives in Hellesdon, said: 'It was so much fun that I didn't really get nervous about the modelling, I'm really happy to have won.
'My back problems were kind of why I entered. My back caused me to miss a lot of opportunities and I just decided that I wasn't going to let any more pass me by.'
Having been selected from their online application, the finalists had a personal interview followed by the show at Project Nightclub on Riverside last night, where they modelled casual wear, bikinis and evening wear to a strong turnout of over 80 family and friends.
The judges then announced their decision.
Amd admitted she wasn't expecting to take the crown as her name was read out.
She continued: 'I think every one of us were hoping that we were in with a chance of winning but I almost didn't dare to believe that I would so it was such a shock.
'It was my first competition and I had always wanted to do something like it so I gave it a good go.
'I said to myself that I wouldn't let anything stop me having fun and if anything more comes from it then great, but it has been a great experience so far.'
Forty girls had applied to be the face of Miss Norwich, and judges had to cut this down to a shortlist of 12.
Alongside Miss Spinks on the shortlist was Katie Charlton, 19, Kayleigh Markham, 21, Rebecca Turner, 18, Jade Pask, 17, Maria Allcock, 17, Claire Winters, 21, Natalie Beattie, 22, Emma-Lee Hurst, 17, Neuza Vika, 18, Jade Bailey, 19 and Zoe Humphrey, 22.
Rebecca Turner secured runner up position along with Maria Allcock just behind her in third place.
Winner of Miss Norwich 2007, Rebecca Richardson, offered her advice and expertise to the girls and was an assistant to the organisers.
She was full of praise for Amy, saying: 'Amy has an amazing aura about her. She's confident and took her time to rehearse beforehand.
'The girls are absolutely amazing and I hope we have an even better turn out next year. It was just amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better event.'
The newly-crowned Miss Norwich now goes on to the semi-finals of Miss England at Champneys Springs in Leicestershire on Monday, June 13.
If she can make it through to the Miss England finals she will then have the chance to succeed the reigning queen Jessica Linley - who was crowned Miss Norwich in 2008.
The 5ft 7ins student is hoping to continue her success, and wouldn't turn down the chance of taking her modelling work further, but her main concentration remains her ambitions to go into medicine.
She added: 'If the opportunity arrives to do more modelling then that would be great but I am very set on my career and finishing my degree.
'If I can make it to the final of this then there is the chance to go into the Miss World competition, so that would be pretty crazy too!'
Are you entering a high-profile competition? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email email@example.com