Miss Newcastle Monet Grant has told of her joy at winning the annual contest and pledged to always help disadvantaged children.

The 19-year-old, of Chester-le-Street , was crowned the 2019 winner following a night of glitz and glamour at the County Hotel on Friday.

Twelve contestants from across the North East were competing for the title and were also tasked with raising funds for the Sunshine Fund .

They raised more than £22,780 - Monet herself collected over £2,000 through fundraising activities.

She said she was shocked when she was announced as the winner.

"I was completely lost for words," she added. "I didn't know what to say or what to do. I was not expecting it at all.

"The competition was tough and all the girls worked so hard - every one of them deserved to win."

The beauty queens opened the event with a stunning dance sequence, which was followed by fashion and evening wear rounds on the catwalk.

There was also a section where the contestants had to answer a question put to them by the panel.

Monet, who studied at The Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street, was asked to tell a special story about herself and she recounted a charity trip to India.

She had just turned 18 when she went to India with a group of youngsters from her school. She raised more than £5,000 and helped to build and refurbish facilities for children while she was there. Before she came home, she gave away her own clothing and equipment she did not need.

Monet, who is now studying interior design at Manchester University and also works part-time as a nursery nurse assistant, says she feels passionately about supporting children and charities that help youngsters in need.

She added: "My trip to India remained in my memory. I remember how little some of the children had, yet how happy they were. Even the simplest of things can stay with you forever.

"Children and charities that support them will always have a special place in my heart."

Monet decided to take part in Miss Newcastle because she felt the competition encompasses "all the elements in my life that I value".

She said: "It's not just about the glitz and glamour. It's about the values of all the girls, hard work and devotion."

She will next be seen at the Miss England contest, which she is looking forward to.

However, she has vowed to continue with charity work.

"I want to raise more awareness about children's charities that are close to my heart," she said.