Cotswold Life

A head for fig­ures

If you thought beauty con­tests were just about ‘walk­ing up and down and an­swer­ing a few ques­tions’, let us in­tro­duce you to Glouces­ter­shire-based char­tered ac­coun­tant, Cher­relle Ford

- Accountancy · Corporate Finance · Finance · Business · England · Cherrelle · Brockworth · Churchdown · Staverton

Go on – ad­mit it. You thought beauty con­tests were… well… a lit­tle one-di­men­sional. You’re not alone. Cher­relle Ford, a 26-year-old char­tered ac­coun­tant from Brock­worth – and now a fi­nal­ist in Miss Eng­land – thought ex­actly the same.

“There’s a mis­con­cep­tion around pageants, and I had one my­self: the idea that you just have to walk up and down and an­swer a few ques­tions.”

But she’s rather changed her view since she ap­plied for the con­test this sum­mer.

So let’s wind back a lit­tle. Cher­relle’s a pro­fes­sional through and through. At Cho­sen Hill School in Church­down, she ex­celled at mu­si­cal theatre. “I used to spend most of my lunchtimes in the mu­sic room in some sort of choir re­hearsal,” she says. But she also ex­celled at maths. And when it came to choos­ing a ca­reer, she de­cided there was no con­test: “I’d love to have gone into mu­sic but it was a very big risk. I’ve got friends who did, who have ended up out of jobs.

“Be­cause I’d en­joyed maths at A level, I spoke to some fam­ily friends who were ac­coun­tants. And I thought: if I go to uni and do a de­gree, I’ll end up with some­thing ver­sa­tile.”

As it hap­pened, a week be­fore she was due to start her course, Cher­relle se­cured an in­ter­view at Ha­zle­woods at Staver­ton and has worked there ever since, spe­cial­is­ing in farms and es­tates. A job she loves.

But Covid has dis­rupted many-a-life this year. And it was when a work­sec­ond­ment to Syd­ney was post­poned be­cause of the virus that she de­cided she needed an ex­tra fo­cus. Hence, ap­ply­ing to the Miss Eng­land Con­test.

And here was the sur­prise. In­stead of sim­ply hav­ing to look the part, Cher­relle found her­self par­tic­i­pat­ing in qual­i­fy­ing rounds that in­cluded mak­ing an out­fit from re­cy­clable bin bags; record­ing a tal­ent video (“I sang Adele’s Some­one Like You”); se­cur­ing tree-plant­ing pledges; and fundrais­ing for good causes. She also opted to post a no-makeup photo on so­cial me­dia.

“It wasn’t so much about walk­ing up and down on a catwalk and look­ing good. It was about do­ing things for char­ity, and try­ing to be a good role­model across the in­ter­net.”

The semi-fi­nal was ex­tra nerver­ack­ing when live-stream­ing was dis­rupted by a thundersto­rm – this is the first Miss Eng­land to be held ‘vir­tu­ally’. But Cher­relle com­fort­ably made it through to the fi­nals which, Covid-per­mit­ting, will be held live in Birm­ing­ham at the end of Oc­to­ber.

In the mean­time, things are pretty busy. Now a char­tered ac­coun­tant, Cher­relle is in de­mand with the farm, es­tate and eques­trian busi­nesses she sup­ports. “Mine is such a rel­e­vant in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly with all that’s been go­ing on in terms of Brexit and Covid. It’s a chal­leng­ing time.”

She’s also de­ter­mined to use her pro­file to ex­plain to young peo­ple what a great ca­reer path ac­count­ing can be.

“I reg­u­larly take time out to at­tend ca­reer fairs at lo­cal schools, us­ing the time to ed­u­cate stu­dents about the pro­fes­sion it­self and the im­por­tance of the fi­nance in­dus­try.

“As a young fe­male pro­fes­sional in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try, I have learnt the im­por­tance of con­fi­dence, net­work­ing and so­cial skills. It is my goal to be a role model and em­power young fe­male pro­fes­sion­als whilst in­creas­ing their knowl­edge of the in­dus­try.”

To find out how Cher­relle does in the fi­nals of Miss Eng­land, keep your eye on mis­sen­g­

 ??  ?? Cher­relle Ford in the eco-dress she made of re­cy­cled ma­te­rial for the com­pe­ti­tion
Cher­relle Ford in the eco-dress she made of re­cy­cled ma­te­rial for the com­pe­ti­tion

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