Donington action woman Laura is England and UK mermaid queen
Donington queen of adventure Laura Hudson (29) has proven herself to be anything but a "fish out of water" after being named the UK's finest mermaid.
The costume designer, dance/fitness instructor and all-round action woman rose to the surface ahead of a pool of other would-be women of Atlantis to be crowned Miss Mermaid England and UK ahead of Lincolnshire Day last Monday.
Laura, an ex-Spalding High School student, went through six gruelling rounds for the aquatic beauty pageant over one weekend in Berkshire at the end of September.
An underwater swim of 64 metres in mermaid tails, an "eco dress" made from plastic can rings, carrier bags and newspapers, a pole dancing demonstration and a catwalk in an evening gown made by American designer Tony Bowls were some of the rounds tackled by Laura in order to top the podium.
Laura said: "It was nice to be with all the other girls, making new friends quite quickly, because we were all feeling the same emotions and were all in the same position.
"It took about 45 minutes for the results to be checked and when we headed out for our final time on stage, they began announcing the runners-up and then the winner of Miss Mermaid England which was Laura.
"I was in shock, grabbing the arm of my friend who was stood next to me.
"She asked 'Isn't there another Laura?' as we were all looking around at each other.
"But when they realised it was me, the girls pushed me forward so I could be crowned, adorned with a sash and handed a bunch of flowers by last year's Miss Mermaid Wales Bethan Mcauley and Miss Mermaid UK/ Miss Mermaid International winner Laura Siddall.
"It was a total whirlwind, and I couldn't stop shaking, staring at my family in disbelief.
"Then came the biggest announcement of the night, Miss Mermaid UK, and I nearly fell to the floor when my name was called out.
"Bethan and Laura took the gold crown off me and replaced it with a big, shiny, silver crown, another sash, and another bunch of flowers.
"I was shaking even more and had to try and hold it together for some photographs.
"It was an absolute whirlwind but, at the same time, I had so much love and good wishes from everyone on stage.
"It was such an amazing feeling when my family came on stage to hug me at the end and then, at an after-party in a hotel close by, I entered the room and someone shouted out "Introducing the new Miss Mermaid UK" which was really bizarre and I ran back out the room.
"So I am now looking forward to the Miss Mermaid International competition which will take place in Egypt next year.
"I am incredibly grateful to my friends and family for their support and help because without it, I wouldn't have been competing."