New Miss Norwich pays a visit to her old school

Miss Norwich 2011 has been back to her old school to tell current pupils how she went on to claim her crown despite being bullied when she was younger.

Amy Spinks was a student at Sewell Park College, or Blyth Jex School as it was called then, just four years ago.

Earlier this month she was crowned Miss Norwich 2011 and is now preparing to take part in the semi-finals of the Miss England competition at Champneys Springs in Leicestershire on Monday, June 13.

The 20-year-old student defied the odds to recover from a severe back injury to win the crown.

Aged 14 she broke bones in her back when taking part in the long jump which affected her for more than four years.

But following a courageous fightback, the The 5ft 7ins blonde is now in the running to compete for the Miss England crown.

Miss Spinks said: 'I was really excited to be asked to go back to my high school by my drama teacher Sarah Wood, to talk to the pupils about achievement and determination.

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'I found high school very daunting, I was bullied quite a lot and it often seemed like there was no way out. 'I guess you just have to remember that it is such a short period of time and I decided to keep going and I came out the other side so much stronger.

'That's what I wanted the students to see and understand, that regardless of the hand you are dealt, if you truly believe in yourself and ignore the negatives you will make it through and be a better and stronger person for it.'

The Hellesdon beauty is now training to be a doctor, studying a natural sciences degree with the Open University, as her injury meant she missed her first chance to sit her A-levels and go to university.

On Monday she returned to her former school to talk to the pupils and see the changes that her old school has gone through since becoming Sewell Park College.

She added: 'It was lovely to see all my old teachers who were all so supportive and so happy that despite the issues I had, I was still determined to achieve my goals.'

Miss Spinks will now face a Norfolk rival in the semi-finals of Miss England, as reported in the Evening News this week.

Emma-Lee Hurst has made it into the semi-finals through a heat held by a modelling agency and is now also aiming to reach the final of the competition.

If both do make it through to the Miss England final then they will then have the chance to succeed the reigning queen Jessica Linley – who was crowned Miss Norwich in 2008.

- Entries are also open for Miss Norfolk 2011, which will be decided on Sunday, August 7.

Norwich's Kerri Parker Academy has teamed up with the Miss Great Britain organisation for the second year running to bring girls aged 17 - 25 in the Norfolk area the chance to represent their county at the Miss Great Britain 2011 national final.

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Are you entering a high-profile competition? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email