A Newham woman who is passionate about tackling fuel poverty is vying for the chance to be crowned Miss Great Britain, with hopes of representing the country at the Miss Universe international competition.

Michelle Apeah, 28, said her interest in fuel poverty been influenced by her parents' experiences growing up in Ghana.

Michelle, who is from East Ham, said: "I work in the energy field so naturally I'm aware of the state of the world when it comes to climate change.

"It's such a big issue – it's something that requires international collaboration – so even though I... work in the field, I still feel quite overwhelmed by how many issues there are to solve and I've always wanted to do more.

"Seeing how fuel prices have risen so much, especially in London, has been quite a shocker.

"I think a lot of people don’t realise that in richer countries like England people are still living in fuel poverty.

"You’ve got energy poverty as well in poorer countries where communities don't have access to clean, affordable energy and I've seen that through the stories of my parents.

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"They were born in Ghana and I go to Ghana every so often.

"There are communities that don't have access to electricity and so they have to rely on more harmful forms of fuel like kerosene which is very bad for your health."

Michelle works for an American energy company and serves on the Advisory Council of Solar Sister, a social enterprise that delivers clean energy solutions led by women in Africa.

Newham Recorder: Michelle said this will be the first pageant competition she has enteredMichelle said this will be the first pageant competition she has entered (Image: Johnny Chum Photography)

She said it is an "honour" to have the opportunity to represent Newham in the competition: "Growing up I didn’t hear about Miss Universe.

"I didn’t think it was something that someone from my area could do.

"In my mind it was for very affluent people…of course you are at an advantage if you have connections and have a certain amount of wealth so for me to come from a working class background, being a Black woman as well, I think it's an honour."

Michelle is currently raising money for A-Sisterhood, an official partner of Miss Universe and Miss Great Britain.

The Miss Great Britain final will take place on July 7 to 9 in south Wales.