A WOMAN from Malpas has reached the finals of Miss England, despite suffering from a debilitating illness.

Last weekend Eleanor Farr competed in the Miss England North semi finals held in Bolton.

She was fast tracked to the finals of Miss England as the competitor that raised the most money for charity.

Eleanor is 24 and has lived all her life in Malpas, Cheshire. She attended the local schools and is now running a photography studio locally At the age of 18 she went away to The University of Leeds to do a Graphic Design degree and was enjoying life to the full when suddenly during her second year she developed Rheumatoid Arthritis.

This is an auto-immune disease where the persons own immune system attacks the joints and other organs.

For a couple of years her world was turned upside down as she became increasingly handicapped and suffered excruciating pain.

A succession of treatments was tried, each offering new hope which was dashed when they could not be tolerated or had no effect on the relentless progression of the disease.

Only steroids could lessen her symptoms and they left her bloated and affected her mood.

Throughout all this, Eleanor completed her degree course in 2016 and graduated with a 2:1 Eventually a treatment was found that worked.

Infusions of a potent biological drug used to treat cancer caused her symptoms to improve by suppressing her immune system, and for a while Eleanor could function like a normal young person.

Towards the end of 2016, Eleanor started struggling to walk because of pain.

X rays of her hips showed her left hip had completely worn down due to the damage caused by her arthritis and she needed an immediate total hip replacement.

Because her immune system was compromised by her infusions, she had to wait 3 months for the operation.

In this time, she became bedridden and constantly sick due to the morphine needed to control the pain.

In January 2017, she underwent surgery for her hip replacement and hasn't looked back since, however, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis.

It is something that Eleanor will have to manage and live with for the rest of her life.

She still suffers from pain and swelling from her affected joints which may require surgery in the future, but this hasn’t stopped her from achieving all that she has.

In July 2017 she opened "Stretton Studios" and began working extremely hard building up her business.

You can find details of the business at www.strettonstudios.co.uk She was just beginning to establish a profitable business when she was burgled in November 2018 and virtually all her equipment including cameras, lights and computers were stolen.

She was fortunate that people around her helped, she was loaned equipment and computers and a past client even fund raised for her.

Once she was back on her feet, she decided that if ever she was able to help others she would. Eleanor has been active in the past raising awareness of Rheumatoid Arthritis in young people and the impact that it can have on their mental as well as physical health.

She has also helped raise funds for research so the correct treatments can be found to turn a person’s life around.

This year Eleanor has entered the Miss England competition and has used the opportunity it has given her to raise funds for charity and to help the community.

She organised a gig featuring several local bands at de Bees nightclub in Winsford which not only raised a substantial sum of money for Papyrus, prevention of young suicide but helped local people in their endeavour to keep the venue open.

She raised over £1100 for Papyrus, prevention of young suicide with the gig and a raffle.

She is currently thinking of ways to raise more money for charity ahead of the Miss England finals being held in Newcastle at the end of July.