Beauty with purpose

PUBLISHED: 18:36 30 July 2016 | UPDATED: 18:36 30 July 2016

Karen Sandland

Karen Sandland

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Not just a pretty face, Miss Kent contestant Karen Sandland is also a teaching assistant, Army Cadet Force volunteer and an ace fundraiser. 

Tell us a bit about you

My name is Karen Sandland, I’m 23 and from Maidstone. I went to Valley Park Community School where I was deputy head girl in sixth form.

I still live with my parents while I save up to buy a house with my partner, an Army Reservist who is not long got back from Afghanistan. I have two older brothers and a nephew.

Tell us about Miss England

My friends entered me into the Miss England competition, I think as a bit of a joke, back in October 2014. The organisers of of Miss Sussex 2015 then contacted me to ask if I would like to take part as a practice run for Miss Kent 2015.

This meant attending the pageant evenings, which involved three rounds: Little Black Dress, eco wear (an outfit we made ourselves out of recycled material or from a charity shop) and the evening gown round. In the run up we had the option to raise money for the Miss World charity Beauty With a Purpose, which I did, and I also chose to raise money for Help for Heroes.

I placed 11th in Miss Sussex so didn’t quite make the top 10 that time but I did make the top five in Miss Kent the following month.

This year I was contacted by the Miss England organisers to find out if I wanted to take part in Miss Kent again, but it was a little different as there wouldn’t be a pageant this time, just a public text vote to choose the winner and a few others who would go through to the Miss England Semi Finals. I came second out of the 20-plus finalists in the text vote and that put me through. This year for fundraising I chose to also help the Royal British Legion as well as BWAP.

Some of the things I have done for fundraising across the two years have included boot fairs, charity stalls, sponsor me/hire me days, cake sales on The Kentish Lady on the Medway in Maidstone and numerous pub quizzes and raffles.

What is your day job?

I work at Linton Park Focus School in Maidstone, with Year 3 to Year 6 pupils. It is my job to make sure all the children, of all abilities, understand the work that is set and get the extra help if needed. I also take out the higher-achieving students for interventions to make sure they a being worked to their full potential.

I enjoy it because the school is so incredibly supportive to both the staff and students. This allows me to do my job and it’s wonderful to watch children who want to learn, and in turn, see them grow and I get to help shape their future.

your spare time activities?

I’m an adult volunteer in the Army Cadet Force and on two evenings a week, the occasional weekend plus two weeks in the summer holidays, I teach 12 to 18-year-olds about military and life-based skills. They learn to map read while out on the ground, how to use a rifle and to shoot on the ranges, we teach them first aid, drill, maintenance and care of their uniform and they get to interact with other like-minded teens. It’s so fulfilling meeting a shy 12 year old and then seeing a strong, confident 18 year old walk out of the door; some stay on to become instructors, as I did. I’m learning British Sign Language, and I’ve begun volunteering for the Royal British Legion.

Your ambitions for the future?

To make a difference, even if it’s only to one child or young person’s life. That’s why I went back to the cadet force as an adult volunteer and why I became a teaching assistant; there are many people my age, myself included, who could do so much more with their life, so if I can help one child from not being that type of adult then I have done something right. w

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Style

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

If your feet are causing you pain, there’s no need to let Covid-19 stop you from getting the help you need.

Read more
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

With infection levels rising and increasing restrictions, those seeking anti-aging treatments might be concerned about Covid-19 security in aesthetics clinics.

Read more
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

If the mere mention of new season fashion leaves you downhearted that you’ll be ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’ then prepare to be welcomed into the world of autumnal colours and effortless styles – whether you’re stepping up your working from home wardrobe, or revamping your look.

Read more
Monday, September 14, 2020

If you are nearing retirement age, you may be thinking about downsizing and pursuing a simpler lifestyle. Marie Hanby – marketing manager at Serenity Parks – tells us the key benefits of living in a retirement village such as Serenity’s Kingsdown Meadow in Sevenoaks.

Read more
Friday, August 21, 2020

Sarah Morris, deputy branch manager at My Life - a home care provider in Kent - explains the benefits that live-in care can offer.

Read more
Monday, June 22, 2020

So, your wedding plans have been spoiled by COVID-19, and it has left you in the dark as to what to do next. Michelle King, from London Golf Club, shares her advice on how to come to terms with the postponement of your wedding, and what you can do about re-booking.

Read more
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Good Hotel Guide have helped us get a little location inspiration with five of the top boutique hotels for weddings in Kent

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life