A 50-YEAR-OLD mother-of-three from York is preparing to take part in a national modelling contest this evening.

Deborah Hirzel, who is Classic Miss York 2018/19, is in the final of the Classic Miss British Isles 2019 Model Competition, open to women over 45 and being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester.

Deborah, of Clifton, whose hobbies include running and reading and who works as a model and TV supporting artist and is also a brand ambassador for York Fashion Week, said she was thrilled to be representing her home city of York in the contest.

She is up against finalists from across The British Isles and if she wins the title, the main prize is £1,500 including a modelling and promotional contract.

Previous winners of Miss British Isles organised events have gone on to be signed by top modelling agencies, taken part in major TV shows and even appear in a Bollywood film.

Deborah, who is sponsored by Tancream, a face and body SPF factor 50 sun protection, gradual self tanner and instant bronzer, told The Press in January:"I have wrinkles, stretch marks, age spots, veins and grey hair but that’s me at 50 years of age and I think it is OK to show that.

"Botox and fillers are not for me and if it means I lose out on a job then so be it. Last year I did a commercial for Latona London skincare products with three lovely young ladies and I felt proud to be the older model representing mature skin."

She said she turned to modelling in her 40s – while working as a dinner lady at her youngest child's school, Clifton With Rawcliffe primary. Trained as a dental assistant, she gave up work to raise her three children – aged 21, 14, and ten – and had decided to return to work as a teaching assistant, getting a job helping at lunchtime to gain some experience.

She said she believed the demand for older models will grow. "I look forward to modelling in the 50-plus market. Times are changing and finally we are seeing older people advertising products aimed at the older market. It is about time. I’m just getting started and I’d love to think I’ll still be doing this in my 60s and 70s."