THE hunt is on to find the most beautiful babies in Worcestershire as the Evening News prepares to launch Baby of the Year 2005.

Proud parents will be lining up to have their babies and toddlers photographed in Angel Place when the competition starts on Monday.

The age categories will be the same as last year - 0-9 months, 10-18 months and 19-36 months.

A winner and two runners up will be chosen from each category, with an overall winner picked from all three.

Last year 25,000 readers voted for 526 entrants, with Freya Spain winning the prestigious title of Baby of the Year 2004.

The three-and-a-half-year-old also won 19-36 month category, much to the delight of parents Maria and Jonathan Spain, aged 37 and 35 respectively.

"We were absolutely ecstatic that she won and were very proud of her," said Mrs Spain, of Attwood Place, Warndon Villages, Worcester.

"Obviously we're biased but we think we think she has an all-round cuteness, and in the photo taken at the time her eyes really sparkled."

The family won the star prize - a photographic session worth £600, a colour portrait of Freya, £100 worth of Next vouchers, a silver trophy and a bouquet of flowers.

There is a new addition to the family - 10-month-old Charlie.

The couple plan to wait before entering him into the competition.

n Proud parents can enter their children free of charge at our new city centre venue.

Go to the old Phone Shack store, next to Acorn Cards near CrownGate market, Angel Place, between Monday, February 28, and Saturday, March 5, between 10am and 5pm, where your child will be photographed free of charge by our professional photographers.

You will be given a date to return and enter your child free of charge.