Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Stephanie crowned Mini Miss European Northern Ireland

Local girl Stephanie Walsh has been crowned Mini Miss European Northern Ireland after wowing the judges at a glittering ceremony held in Belfast on Sunday 3rd May.

The St. Patrick’s Primary School pupil stole the hearts of the panel with a beautiful self penned poem she recited at the final and a confident onstage interview where she spoke of her passion and accomplishments in Tae Kwon Do.  As well as walking away with the coveted Mini Miss European title, the 10 year old’s outstanding fundraising efforts in recent weeks did not go unnoticed, earning her third place in the Miss Charity round of the finals for raising a fantastic £1,475 for the pageant’s affiliated charity – the Make A Wish Foundation.  Another local girl, Alannah Loy, came a close second for the Miss Charity title, having raised an amazing £1,760.   All 13 young finalists managed to raise an incredible total of £10,333 for for the leading UK charity which works to grant wishes for children with terminal illnesses.

Stephanie was also named Miss Photogenic on the day making it a hat-trick of achievements for the Crossmaglen beauty. As overall winner of the Miss Northern Ireland Mini Miss European title, Stephanie will fly all expenses paid to England to compete for the International title of Mini Miss European 2015 in October where she will be up against 10 other countries from all over Europe.

Speaking to The Examiner following her daughter’s achievement, mum Celia told us that Stephanie was “still on a high” from her win and in much demand for radio and TV interviews in the coming weeks.  She revealed that the Mini Miss winner was enjoying a well earned rest before she embarks on a series of interviews, functions and events as part of her duties as Mini Miss Northern Ireland, including handing out an award at a ceremony in Belfast this Friday and opening the Belfast Mini Marathon in September.

Celia had high praise for the pageant organisers who, she said, “made the entire final a fairytale event for all the young girls involved.”

“Every girl came home with a title and everyone was so happy for the achievements of others. It was a fantastic experience for all involved and one that Stephanie will never forget.”

The proud mum also extended her thanks to Cross Square Hotel Manager Fiona Kieran for hosting  a beautiful champagne reception to welcome Stephanie home.  “We’ve been overwhelmed with the support Stephanie has received in her local community,” said Celia.

“That support got her to the final and helped her raise such a brilliant amount for Make A Wish.  We’ve been inundated with messages of congratulations and interview requests and we hope that everyone will be rooting for her in the final in October.”

Pageant Directors Taylor-Rae and Lisa Hamilton praised all 13 finalists for being “beautiful on the inside” and said their fundraising efforts over the past number of months exemplified the Mini Miss motto “beauty with a purpose.”

Passing on their “massive congratulations” to Stephanie as overall winner and all the “princesses” who took part, the directors said, “We had an emotional day and are just so proud of the girls.”