Introducing Elizabeth Grant, Miss Preston 2016
Sorry I’ve not been active recently, I’ve been knee deep in exams, coursework, uni.. and uni life. Where do I start about explaining my insane journey of Miss Preston, it all started when I was fortunately in town (just after finishing a night shift) so if I do say so myself, I wasn’t looking my best (haha!) and a beaaaaauuuutifuuul girl sauntered over and asked if I wanted to join Miss Preston. At first I was struck aback, I was like “have I just been scouted?” this is mad! I was more than happy to put my name down and get on with my day.
I distinctly remember not being happy about having my picture taken because I had no makeup on that day, haha! But Mark was ever so flattering to me and we only had a chance to talk briefly before they continued scouting and I continued my day. Unbeknown to be, I had just begun my journey on this incredible world will impeccable opportunities arising for me! I feel so blessed thinking back over it all. Ever since I got the call from Mark to congratulate me on getting through to the finals, I can just remember having floods of ideas running through my mind of what to do, how to fundraise, who I would be competing against and what was expected of me!
When Mark rang I was at a staff work meeting (I remember this vividly); I came back into the staff room and I told them I got into the final! They were soon insanely happy for me, telling me how proud they were and for the rest of that meeting, I was zoned out hahaha. I think that was the first thought in my mind, what am I going to do if I win? Like, can you imagine if you win? But that thought was always a quick passing one, it was never one I dwelled on… even though I probably should have, looking at where I am now haha!
I had never, ever done a “heat” before so I had no clue what on earth to expect when I got there, I was hugely impressionable to what was going on around me, I remember being quite shy with the other girls first, I think I was still in shock and just taking everything in. But I loved every. single. second. of. it. I remember now what I kept telling myself during the rehearsals!! I aimed to keep in contact with these guys organising the event, because no matter what role anybody had (either Kerry, teaching us the choreography or Mary and Liv working behind the scenes) they always looked so untroubled and beaming. Definitely a place I could see myself working in or lending a helping hand some time in the future.
I remember the night before our final, it was the Juniors final and a video was put up that same night of behind the scenes and when they announced the winner and they caught her genuine reaction. My mother and I sat and watched it a few times saying how adorable she was and how exasperating it must have been to hear your name. I can’t even believe that I would be in that same situation the next day, AHHHHH!
During the daily rehearsals all of us girls got talking about what we’ve done in the run up to the final, whether we have done heats before, and whether we’re nervous or not. I’d say a high percentage of girls were nervous, including myself, but because the main aspect of the night was to have fun, that fear kind of went away! Until the big night and the stage and hearing Mark count down that we have “5 minutes until show time” Ahhhhhhh!!! It was legitimately the scariest and most nerve racking time hearing him count down. In our dressing room, us girls were chatting about anything and everything but we all stopped still whenever we heard Mark on the telecom because we were soon anxious haha!
Our very own Mark was soon lovely to me, especially when I did have a little bit of a stress when rehearsing one wear. I was with my group and I was struggling to walk properly, I didn’t feel comfortable so Mark took the time to walk with me step by step and just talk for a while. Something that took my mind off things and he didn’t seem fazed one bit about helping me. It just highlighted to me how much he cares for these girls and that we all need to enjoy ourselves before the show can go on. If we weren’t happy, it would shine through to the performance and show. Our former Junior Miss Preston, Abbie Kerr was in our dressing room just before we all went out for our first wear and she was telling us to enjoy every moment of it because it goes in a heartbeat… by god was she right.
By the time I was able to catch my breathe, we had twenty minutes to get our Eco outfits on and then we were out again! It was a whirlwind and even though the stress levels were “hiiiiiiiiigh” everyone from behind the scenes always ensured we were okay and enjoying ourselves; that made the night go easier. It didn’t feel like a competition, it just felt like a group of friends dressing up and doing a catwalk in somebodies bedroom, haha! We were aware of the judges but (if I’m honest) I was on that catwalk just doing me and enjoying… being me! It was brilliant to just have fun with some girls who I know I’ll keep in my life for a long time, some life long friends.
During the night our current Miss North West, Christina, came in and asked me “What number are you?” and she looked at my wrist surprisingly and said “Ah, it’s you!” She told me that my family were going craaaazy at the back of the hall when I went out and I heard the cheering but I never knew how mad they were going! It really kept me going that night to know that they’re possibly going to wake up with croaky throats from screaming so loudly. Christina also told me “If you don’t feel out of it and feel a bit silly, you’re doing it wrong” and that kept with me. I was well and truly feeling myself when it was my turn to strut haha!
Now we’ve all done our walks, we’re all changed into our evening wear and we’re waiting for the results. The famous “results” song comes on and I tell you I had the biggest goosebumps up and down my arms. This moment was especially special because nobody really spoke much behind the scenes, but everybody came together and either held each others hands or waists. You could see the admiration and respect that all these girls had of one another, after spending all day together and not knowing each other for specifically a long time. It was precious to have shared my crowning with the girls I competed with. From the results of Miss Popularity, Publicity, Charity and Personality; all the girls behind went WILD for whoever it was! The pride we had for every girl who won that award was amazing! It was liberating; something I know I won’t forget.
When they read my name out, I was in complete shock. Like, I didn’t even have a niggle that it would be me, I couldn’t believe it! It was me! Little ol’ me from Ribbleton who’s now Miss Preston 2016. Even typing this now seems surreal still, but it’s sinking in. I am SO ready to take on this role now. But at the time it took a lot of pushing and prodding from the girls behind the scenes to get me on stage hahaha! My legs had forgotten how to work. I would go back to that liberating feeling over and over, people who I didn’t even know where standing to clap me. Me???? Lil ol’ me from Ribbleton!
It’s just incredible to have been given this chance. I wouldn’t change the whole night and experience for the world. Now… I am Miss Preston, 2016! Let’s get these plans rolling shall we? I have many plans set up for this year and I am insanely excited to get these sorted. Many little events I want to get up and running during the summer months, in and around Preston. All fundraising done will be in aid of Derian House, a hospice that is so close to my heart. They helped me when I was 5 and dealing and coping with the loss of my older sister, Melanie. It’s a gesture I treasure now. I do think I was blessed to receive this title, even more so that I can do so much with this title that helps the establishment that helped me in my time of need. Derian House, I will forever be in your favour for the work and time you spent with me. Melanie is shining bright for us both and I will make her proud.
Preston 2016, let’s make this a year to shine brighter than ever!
Your Miss Preston,