Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Stephanie set to shine at Mini Miss European Northern Ireland Princess Final

Local 10 year old, Stephanie Walsh, is set to wow the judges at the Mini Miss European Northern Ireland Princess final in May. The Crossmaglen schoolgirl’s fundraising efforts in the run up to the prestigious final have caught the attention and support of the entire community as she endeavours to raise as much money as possible for the pageant’s chosen charity, the Make a Wish Foundation.

Stephanie was hand picked to be a finalist in the event after organisers came across her Facebook page, run by proud mum Celia. Speaking to The Examiner, Celia told us that she was approached last year by the Mini Miss European organisers to consider putting Stephaine forward for the competition as they felt she was a definite contender for the pageant which, according to it’s tag line, “is not just about beauty on the outside, but the beauty that comes from within.”

Celia declined the offer due to Stephanie’s commitments to Tae Kwon Do but when she was contacted by competition organiser, Taylor-Rae, again this year, both she and Stephanie decided to go for it.  Stephanie was shortlisted to the final 14 and “can’t wait” to take to the catwalk in Iveagh Movie Studio in Banbridge on Saturday 3rd May for the Northern Ireland final.

“Stephanie is delighted to be part of the event,” says Celia.

“She’s not a bit shy and has always loved the limelight so she can’t wait to get on the stage for the final.”

Stephanie is certainly no stranger to the limelight, having taken centre stage at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Newry this year to lead the parade alongside Mayor Daire Hughes.

The St. Patrick’s Primary School pupil will compete in three rounds of the pageant final including White Dress, Party Wear and Evening Wear and will be interviewed in each round –  something her mum says will be no problem for the outgoing ten year old.

“She’s very talkative and outgoing”, she says,

“She already has radio interviews lined up with IUR FM and Q Radio and is very excited to be hitting the airwaves so she’ll be well able to cope with the interview stages of the final.  Stephanie has taken the initiative for all the fundraising herself and has organised a series of events to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.  I’ve even left her to it when she’s been negotiating with sponsors and locals involved in the fundraising events as she has it all under control herself,” adds Celia, who is understandably proud of her daughter’s fundraising efforts.

Stephanie’s upcoming charity events include a spectacular Fun Day sponsored by Casey’s Euro Spar which will feature bouncy castles from Paddy Derry’s Cross Castles, face painting, musical entertainment and much more. Caseys EuroSpar, have also kindly donated a brand new BMX bike which will be one of the main prizes in a raffle Stephanie has organised in her school.  Other school-based charity events organised by the enterprising ten year old include a “Wear what you wish” day, which Celia says differs from the usual non-uniform day in that students are encouraged to “wear anything from tutus and wellies to the most outlandish combinations they wish to show off,” to a “Bake what you wish” day, which also aims to inspire some imaginative creations.

Celia has high praise for the local community of Crossmaglen who have shown her daughter “unbelievable support” in her charitable endeavours.

“Stephanie can’t believe the support she is receiving in her local community and already has sponsors who she is proud to say are all Crossmaglen based,” reveals Celia.

“Local Hairdresser and Make-up Artist Hanna Tiernan is doing her hair for her photo shoots and the catwalk, while Kool for Kidz Karen Martin is styling her in the most up-to-date trends so Stephaine has the right look on the day.  Casey’s Eurospar are her main sponsors and she has been inundated with calls from people wanting to help out with fundraising and sponsorship.”

The rising young star, who is also fiercely passionate about Tae Kwon Do, drama and playing the guitar, is in much demand in the run up to the final and, if her ambition and tenacity are anything to go by, local radio interviews will be the tip of the iceberg for Stephanie, as she has high hopes of becoming a TV presenter some day.

She will be wearing her sash with pride as the final draws near and with the best wishes of her local community behind her, the bubbly young beauty hopes to make it to the UK final in Kent to be in with the chance of winning a trip to Disneyland.

Whatever is ahead for Stephanie Walsh, one thing seems certain – we haven’t heard the last of this young lady!