A YOUNG Hampshire woman battling a long-term health problem is hoping to be crowned Miss Hampshire tomorrow.

Six years ago Chloe Silcock, 23, of Fordingbridge, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which causes pain throughout her entire body.

She aims to raise awareness of the condition by taking part in the regional section of the Miss England competition.

Chloe said: “Life with fibromyalgia has been a real struggle.

“Some days I can’t move from my bed and makes me feel hopeless.

“I get bad cases of depression when I’m having a flare-up.

“On good days I always make sure I do my hair and make up and try to get out for a few hours.

“This, of course, makes me look perfectly normal.

“It’s not until I get home that I really struggle, but people don’t see that side of it.”

Chloe has to take a cocktail of eight different medicines, most of which are painkillers.

She said: “Doing pageants such as Miss Hampshire gives me something to look forward to.

“I just have to accept that I’ll suffer for a few days afterwards.

“I try my best to stay positive.

“I know there are people out there less fortunate than myself.

“I always try to remember that, stay strong and keep smiling.”

Chloe has competed in previous pageants and also took part in the Face of Beauty International event in India last year.

She said: “It would mean the world to me to win Miss Hampshire – and it would be an absolute honour to represent our beautiful county in Miss England.

“I decided to compete because I’ve seen the impact Miss England contests have had on other girls’ lives.

“Due to my health I’ve lost a lot of self confidence.

“I’ve also struggled with anxiety and find it difficult to make new friends.

“Miss Hampshire has really rebooted my confidence and I’ve met so many lovely girls who are local to me.”

An NHS spokesman said: “Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although it affects around seven times as many women as men. The condition typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50 but can occur in people of any age.

“It’s not clear how many people are affected by fibromyalgia although research has suggested it could be a relatively common condition.

“Some estimates suggest that nearly one in 20 people may be affected.”