A BREAST cancer survivor has been selected from more than 1,000 applicants to compete in the international finals of Mrs British Empire 2017.

Widnes mum-of-three Sam Lewis launched Sam’s Diamonds support group three years ago to give young women the strength and resilience to conquer the disease.

So far she has helped to raise £17,000 for various community projects.

The 42-year-old, from Farnworth, will represent Cheshire at the pageant in Buckinghamshire on August 25.

After holding a catwalk fashion show for her 'diamonds' at The Select Stadium, Sam said: “I realised how much our ladies had to push themselves to take part in this catwalk. They were nervous and slightly out of their comfort zone.

"The whole night was about empowering them and regaining their self confidence and we certainly achieved that."

Former PE teacher Sam worked closely with former pupil and firefighter Kirsty Hornby - currently Ms United Kingdom and a Royal International Miss queen - to stage the event.

Sam said: “It made me realise how little confidence I have in my looks and body image.

“I kept putting myself down. Kirsty just oozed confidence in her beautiful dresses.

"I’ve always been fine with a mic and presenting on stage but modelling is completely out of my comfort zone. The diamonds pushed their boundaries and developed themselves that night - it was only right I addressed my own issues!”

Sam entered The Miss British Empire heats to push her boundaries - but says to her surprise she has been put through to the finals!

“If I, a cancer survivor, full of scars, with one breast and no ovaries, who is battling all the after effects of cancer treatment can do well in this competition, what else can we all do?” she said.

“I’m hoping that this will life the profile of Sam’s Diamonds so that we can support and motivate more ladies to reach for the stars!”

For information on Sam’s Diamonds visit samsdiamonds.org.uk or e-mail samsdiamonds@hotmail.com.