TWO cousins with a 16-year age gap are getting ready to compete in the finals of a charity beauty pageant.
Rebecca Cunningham, 23, of Connah’s Quay, and her seven-year-old cousin Emelia Greco of Mold will take part in the UK Crown and Glory competition next month.
The pageant at the Beaufort Park Hotel in New Brighton near Mold is being held to raise money for the Dean Puplett Appeal.
Dean, a year two pupil at Ysgol Glanrafon in Mold, was diagnosed with cancer neuroblastoma in 2010, when he was just three-and-a-half.
The youngster has fought off the condition but there remains an 80 per cent chance it could return and efforts are ongoing to raise the £500,000 needed for treatment if Dean’s cancer comes back.
Young Emilia, who has autism, used to go to the same school as Dean and the two children’s families became friends.
Mother-of-two Rebecca, who entered the contest after Emilia signed up for the ‘Little Miss’ category, said it was quite a surprise to find herself taking part in a beauty contest.
“I thought being in a pageant was something I’d never do,” she said.
“I just thought pageants were for girls who are size six or eight. But this is more about your confidence and how you present yourself.
“I decided to enter because all the money goes to Dean. Every penny counts and it will also help to make people aware of his cause.”
Rebecca, who is mother to four-year-old Leah-Rose and one-year-old Raleigh, will represent Deeside in the married women’s category of the contest and has already received sponsorship from Ash Waste Services, based in Chester.
Speaking of taking part with her young cousin, she added: “Emelia has autism and for her it’s about gaining confidence and improving her social skills.
“It’s a big thing for her.”
Emelia’s mum Claire Cook said her daughter, who attends Ysgol Pen Coch in Flint, was hugely excited about taking part.
“I wasn’t sure at first, but we went to watch another pageant they held recently and Emelia absolutely loved it,“ she said.
“We’re not doing it to win.
“It’s a fun atmosphere and it will hopefully raise her confidence. But mostly it’s to raise awareness of autism and to raise money for Dean.”
To sponsor Rebecca or Emelia email Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can be made to the Dean Puplett Appeal at www.justgiving.com/DeanPuplettAppeal or by texting DEAN93 and your amount (£1-£10) to 70070