THE current Miss Cotswolds canoed six miles across the River Thames in a bid to raise money for disadvantaged children ahead of the Miss England finals next month.

Rheanna Cartier, 18, travelled six miles in a canoe between Lechlade and Radcot to raise money for charity Beauty with a Purpose. The event aimed to raise £500 for the charity in lieu of the fundraising round of the Miss England finals, which are due to take place on August 27.

Miss Cartier, from Kingham, said: "I attended a one month exchange programme to Vietnam when I was 14. I saw firsthand what the charity did for the children in Hanoi and it just inspired me to do my part and show support for them however I can".

The canoe ride, took Miss Cartier 2 and a half hours in total on June 24, where she was accompanied by an experienced paddler.

She said: "It was so much fun. I was a bit worried when I first started, but as I got in to it, it became easier. I only raised £150 towards my goal but I'm happy with the amount, as any amount of donations can make a difference".

The Miss England competition requires candidates to take part in a fundraiser and another round asked participants to promote the local area. Miss Cartier said she chose to merge the two with her canoe ride.

She said: "I wanted to something different. Not a typical fundraiser - but a challenge. At the same time I knew this was a chance to promote the beauty of the Cotswolds and a local business. The Cotswolds Canoe Hire made it possible for me to complete the challenge so I can't thank them enough. I was almost attacked by a swan half way through, which was quite scary - but at least the weather was good".

Miss Cartier is now preparing for the Miss England finals. She said "It's coming around so quickly. Luckily my dress is finished now and its taken a bit of stress off. I'm just chilling now and looking forward to it".