A CHIRK woman has wrapped up her six-year journey in pageantry by finishing first runner-up at the weekend’s Miss Wales final.

Lauren Parkinson narrowly missed out on the Miss Wales crown at the Riverfront Art Centre in Newport, after winning the public vote section of the contest on Friday.

The 26-year-old also picked up the Miss Wales Spirit Award, an accolade that Lauren said ‘truly means the world’ to her.

Reflecting on her Miss Wales journey, Lauren said she hopes she has inspired others.

“Well, an incredible weekend has come to an end,” she said.

“I am so proud to have placed first runner-up at Miss Wales. After dedicating two years to this, it is safe to say my six-year stint in pageantry has come to a natural end.

“I am so proud of everything I have achieved, and the journey is worth so much more than a crown.

“I hope I have inspired many others on this wonderful rollercoaster and shall continue that as I embark on my next adventure.”

Lauren came out as gay to her fellow Miss Wales contestants last year after a year of battling with her own emotions and having fears of being judged differently.

When being presented with the Miss Wales Spirit Award, Miss Wales national director Paula L. Abbandonato described Lauren as someone that has strived for inclusivity and diversity, adding: “Some may say a trailblazer and through coming out has inspired many.”

Lauren congratulated eventual Miss Wales winner Olivia Harris, and thanked those who she has met through her Miss Wales journey.

She posted on Facebook: “To all the girls who I had the privilege of spending the last two years with, you are all deserving of amazing things.

“Thank you Paula L. Abbandonato for welcoming me with open arms, for allowing me to be myself and making Miss Wales a safe space for me to flourish.

“To everyone who has supported me on this crazy journey, you all know who you are and I would be here forever naming you all.”