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Ex-Navy gunner turns swimsuit model

Kayleigh in her Navy days with mum Gail (and) right more recently
Kayleigh in her Navy days with mum Gail (and) right more recently

A former Royal Navy gunner who overcame depression in the wake of her mother’s death is using her new-found self-confidence to compete in a national beauty contest.

Kayleigh Lucas, a 26-year-old carer and student from Bamber Bridge, is hoping to make the finals of the Miss Swimsuit UK competition later this year.

The would-be swimsuit model will be competing at the competition’s first heat next Friday in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Kayleigh says she has “always been interested” in competitions like this, but due to personal reasons she never had the chance.

The Poplar Avenue resident had to leave her dream job in the Royal Navy when her mum Gail fell ill in 2009.

“I wanted to be there and care for her before she died,” the Preston College student said, who suffered from depression in the aftermath of her mum’s death.

Kayleigh has since had three children with her former partner in Payton(seven), Harley (five), and Theo (3), with Kayleigh caring for Harley on a full-time basis as a result of him suffering from autism.

For Kayleigh, pursuing swimsuit modelling is now about following her dreams after putting them on hold.

“I would like to promote the message that no matter what stands in your way there should always be time to do you,” she said.

“You only get one life so don’t sit and wonder what if. Grab every opportunity with both hands.”