From tomboy to beauty queen

By Jenni DixonHER grandparents remember her as a bit of a tomboy as a child, but Emma Spellar now has the modelling world at her feet after being crowned Miss Great Britain.

By Jenni Dixon

HER grandparents remember her as a bit of a tomboy as a child, but Emma Spellar now has the modelling world at her feet after being crowned Miss Great Britain.

The 22-year-old model and beautician from Halesworth beat 2,000 other hopefuls to win the coveted title at a glitzy ceremony in London on Monday night.

Celebrating her triumph yesterday, Miss Spellar said: “It still hasn't sunk in yet and I want to say a big thank you to my parents and boyfriend for their support.”

However, it is not the first time a member of the family has won a modelling competition - her great-aunt Janette was crowned Miss North Kent in the 1960s.

Miss Spellar dedicated her victory on Monday to her great-aunt, whose career was stopped short by Multiple Sclerosis and who died 14 years ago from a related illness.

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The newly-crowned Miss Great Britain was brought up in the Suffolk market town of Halesworth and is remembered by her family, friends and teachers as quietly confident and determined.

Her proud mother, Andree, 48, of Benton Way, Halesworth, recalled when her daughter first said she wanted to be a model and finish what her great-aunt had started.

“I think modelling was what Emma was born to do and she tried to get into the industry at 18, but was knocked back and now has succeeded thanks to maturity and her determination,” said Mrs Spellar, a school matron's assistant.

Miss Spellar's father, Terry, a housemaster and woodwork teacher at a boarding school in Bramfield, said he was proud of her achievements.

The 49-year-old added: “Whatever she wants to do and is happy with, I'm happy with.”

According to the couple, who moved to Halesworth 14 years ago, their youngest daughter was pushy and competitive, but always happy - while her grandparents and sister, Keeley, 25, remembered Miss Spellar as being a bit of a tomboy as a child.

Her grandmother, Bridget Spellar, 74, of Kings Road, Bungay, said: “I didn't get a call until late Monday night and I haven't had a real chance to speak to her, but I'm absolutely thrilled.”

Grandfather, Syd, 75, added he did not think Miss Spellar would win because he thought the contest was rigged.

Miss Spellar was a pupil at Bungay High School and its headteacher, Ann Todd, recalled: “She was a real beauty, but I remember more her personality.

“I would not have said she was a 'dumb blonde' at all, she had quite a character and was always prepared to stand up for herself.

“She was good at drama, loved dancing - she was quiet at first, but she got more confident as she went through school.”

Miss Spellar - who moved to London earlier this month to pursue her modelling career - used to run a beauty salon above The Toning Studio in London Road in Halesworth.

The studio's partner, Sue Bickers, said of her victory: “It's brilliant and we're all really pleased for her.”

More than 2,000 women entered the Miss Great Britain competition and they were whittled down to 12 finallists who took part in Monday's showdown at the Café de Paris.

Miss Spellar said: “The judges asked me 'What do people first notice about you?' and I said it depended on if it was a man or a woman. But I told them my eyes, because they show how determined I am.”

For the first time in the contest's history, the winner was decided by public text vote and Miss Spellar will now represent Britain at the Model of the World contest in China.

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