Elizabeth Lategan (85) says winning a community beauty pageant is proof that a positive mind and hard work can increase your lifespan and good looks. She is one of 18 senior women from Kensington and Factreton who participated in the annual Spring Queen beauty pageant at Kensington Civic Centre on Saturday 7 October. Lategan beat all the other women, who were mostly younger than her. Joan Duncan and Rachel Japhtha were her runners-up.Lategan says when she was approached for the competition that was aimed at raising funds for Meals on Wheels, a community organisation that helps elderly people in Kensington and Factreton, she thought the organisers were teasing her. “But I decided to give it a shot and there was no time to prepare or practise my moves. I just went there and I won. There were younger participants who looked really nice, but my good looks impressed the judges. I am happy, it proved that I am as beautiful and strong as I feel.” She says she agreed to participate because Meals on Wheels benefits them as elders and she saw it as her opportunity to give back and put a smile on the faces of the people who care about them. She encourages members of the public to never take for granted the role non-profit organisations play in their communities. She advises young people, especially women, to take care of their bodies and be active, saying it is the secret to her good looks and healthy body. Though the competition was mainly focused on seniors, young girls also got an opportunity to show off as they took over the stage after the seniors’ competition. Angeline Visagie won first place in the category of 13 to 17 years.Chantall Williams, spokesperson of the organisers, says, as part of the NPO’s objectives, the Spring Queen competition was aimed at getting elders to participate in contests and social activities as encouragement for them to maintain their bodies, both inside and out. Williams says: “We strive to remind our communities to look after and appreciate our seniors and help them to grow old gracefully and to emphasise the fact that we should always see the beauty in ourselves and others.” V For more information on Meals on Wheels call Oraya Alexander on 081 512 4960.