HOPES are riding on the new Miss Scarborough who’s flying the flag for the town in the Miss England finals this month.
At 18 years old, having beaten off 13 other competitors, Leanne Wilford is the youngest person to win the beauty pageant since it was relaunched after a 20-year break in 2008.
Far from shying away in the background, the Malton student said she’s keen to live up to her title, taking as much on-board as possible in the year ahead.
She said: “I’m looking forward to meeting everyone, that’s all I want to do is meet new people, and I’m looking forward to the experience,
“Because I was never confident in myself, after doing Miss Scarborough it boosted my confidence a lot. I’m not shy when I’m around new people whereas before I would have been.
“I’ve had to do a speech at Filey Festival, you would have never have caught me doing that before. I never would have got up in front of people and talked.”
Leanne has also developed a taste for community and charity events since she was crowned in May.
“I enjoy doing things for other people. The other day I did a bag pack at Morrisons, we didn’t even expect to even raise £50 but we raised £149 which was really good.
“That’s want I want to do is do stuff for charity, to help other people.”
Her first major appearance will see her compete against other regional finalists in the Miss England finals taking place at the Hilton Metorpol Hotel in Birmingham on July 18 and 19. She said: “I’m looking forward to it, but I know the nerves are going to start kicking in when it comes to it.
“It will be amazing to win, I think anyone who’s entered in the competition would love to win, they’d be no point in entering if you didn’t want to win.”
While Leanne may have more confidence in public speaking, she’s said she was doubtful of her chances in the national beauty pageant, but was looking forward to it all the same.
“Looking at the line-up I don’t think I have a very good chance but just the experience, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity so I’m happy wherever I come really.”
As well as gaining new experiences, Leanne added that winning the competition had made a positive impact on her life and also improved her family connections.
She said: “I know it sounds really cheesy, but winning Miss Scarborough has actually changed my life. When I heard my number announced, I almost fainted.
“It was a mad hour afterwards, it didn’t sink in for ages, even on the Monday morning, I woke up and people were leaving me comments on Facebook and I couldn’t believe I am Miss Scarborough.
“Me and my brother were never as close as me and my sister were, but since winning it, we are closer together. That’s one of the best things winning Miss Scarborough has done, it’s brought us a lot closer.
““We talk a lot more than we used to and I’m going to photoshoot on Watford and he’s taking me to it. Before, he would never have done things like that for me.
“And people my Dad hasn’t spoken to before, they’ve seen him in the street and stopped and spoken to him, it’s got Dad back in contact with people. It hasn’t just done things for me, it’s done things for my family too.”