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Disabled model shortlisted for Miss GB

Shannon McNally
Shannon McNally Image credit: bbc.co.uk

A disabled model from Coseley is in the running to be crowned Miss Great Britain.

Shannon McNally won the title of Miss Black Country in July, but now has her sights competing in the prestigious national competition.

The 22 year-old was born with cerebral palsy which, in her own words, leaves parts of the body "just unable to work".

McNally was diagnosed with asymmetric diplegia in childhood, which meant  "one day only my left arm could work and my right leg won't, and then vice versa".

Studying beauty therapy at university was a challenge for her, she also has fibromyalgia - causing fatigue and pain, but despite the barriers Shannon went on to excel in her studies.

But at school she felt like an “outcast” because of her physical appearance, it was difficult to shrug comments off at such a young age.

"I've had to wear every type of cast and splint and all the different devices (sic) which the disabled community will know of," she told BBC News.

"I was judged or looked at differently - whereas now I just think my disability is a part of me and it's never going to go away.

"So rather than try and hide it, I want to embrace it and this is what my message is to others, to hopefully inspire them to do the same.”

McNally hopes being shortlisted for Miss Great Britain will encourage other women with disabilities to compete for the title.

"I want to be one of the first Miss GB winners to have cerebral palsy and achieve something, not only for myself but for the disabled community to show we can achieve things that maybe years ago people would have never thought a disabled contestant would have been able to enter."

The Miss GB competition will take place in Leicester from 21 October.