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Trainee pilot in Miss England final

A pilot in training who lives in Maidenhead is in the running to be crowned Miss England.

Nachel Riar, 25, got through to the finals of the competition after taking part in the virtual semi-final on Friday.

Nachel was put forward for the pageant in January by her sister, Sim, 33, and only found out she was a contender when she received an email confirming her entry.

The Miss England competition has been viewed as a beauty contest in the past, but organisers say it celebrates the achievements of women and aims to find a positive role model to inspire others.

To earn her place in the final, the winner of which will represent England in the Miss World Contest, Nachel submitted ‘intro videos’ about herself.

This included telling the judges about her determination to become a pilot, despite the expense and the lack of women in the male-dominated role, particularly those who share her Indian heritage.

She said: “I never knew any pilots at the time, and because I’m Indian, and there’s not that many women in it, and there’s even less Indian women in it, I didn’t have any one to look up to.

“I kept going to open days and I just kept being quoted £90,000 to £120,000 [for training]. That was way out of my budget, then I found another route, a modular route where you can work full time.”

In addition to having full-time job Nachel started training for her private pilot licence in 2017 and got it last summer.

She is now working towards her commercial pilot licence (CPL) in between working full time as a case handler in arbitrate claims for Bridgetech Group, in Reading.

She is accruing flying hours and revising towards the necessary exams and hopes to take to the skies with her CPL in 2021.

Nachel says the best thing about unwittingly becoming an entrant in the competition is getting involved with charity work as part the competition’s requirements.

“I just want to see what I can do, and if I’ve been given a platform, how I can help, because that’s the most important thing,” she said.

In her native Solihull, where Nachel lived before moving to Maidenhead in May, she was raising awareness for the charity Elle for Elle Domestic Abuse Foundation.

Now she has moved to Berkshire she intends on getting involved with The Dash (Domestic abuse stops here) Charity, and also raise awareness locally of World Against Single Use Plastic (WASUP).

Nachel is an ambassador for the WASUP initiative which is sponsoring her through the pageant.

She is also taking part in the NIDO (Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation) UK south 19k Challenge to help provide emergency aid to eligible dependents and family members of Nigerians in the UK who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, Nachel has a target of raising £2,000 for Beauty with a Purpose, the Miss World charity.

Another element of the competition she has enjoyed so far is building a network of ‘women empowerment’ with other contestants just as driven as she is.

Find out more about the Miss England competition at www.missengland.info

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