AN NHS nurse who has been battling long covid for two years is hoping to become the next Miss England.

Sophie Lewthwaite, from Kendal, will be competing in the semi-finals in London in August.

She hopes to be a role model for people suffering from invisible illnesses after being struck down by Covid.

"For the first five weeks it felt like I was having a heart attack, said the 26-year-old.

"I had about twenty different symptoms. I was unable to walk, and my hair was falling out.

"After that period, I felt like I was walking through mud. I can function better but now I have an invisible condition.

"Everyone's experience of long COVID is different. So I want to do the competition for people that have invisible conditions in general.

"Miss England is a fantastic organisation, the girls raise a lot for charity as part of their Beauty for Purpose mantra." 

When asked about how she felt about getting through to the semi-finals, Sophie said:

"I feel quite humbled to be given the opportunity. 

"After the experience that I have been through over the last three years, this is my second chance to give back. I want people to know that they are not alone." 

The semi-finals of Miss England will be held at the prestigious TAG51 hotel at Buckingham Gate in London.

Sophie will be competing for a place in the Miss England grand final, which takes place in October 2022. If Sophie wins, she will represent England at the 71st Miss World final and stand to win $100,000. 

Voting for the Miss England semi-final will open on July 21. 

Sophie is not the first NHS worker that is competing in the competition, nor the first one representing an illness. 

In 2019 Doctor Bhasha Mukherjee won Miss England. 

Bhasha supported Diabetes UK as her Beauty with a Purpose Project after revealing that her own father suffers from the disease. 

Bhasha used the publicity given by winning Miss England to highlight her cause both in the UK and in India.