Accrington’s new Carnival Queen said she is delighted to show that age is no barrier after winning the competition.
Helen Trickett, 34, was judged to be the winner during the contest at The Brooks Club on Friday and will now lead out this year’s Carnival procession. The major trauma specialist nurse said it was a ‘real thrill’ but a ‘massive shock’.
She said: “When I was younger I never thought of going for it as I always thought it was done around looks.
“As I’ve got older I’ve got a bit more confidence in myself and when they opened it up to the older age groups I felt a lot more confidence in myself to go for it.
“I couldn’t believe it at all. I really wasn’t expecting it. It’s a massive shock.
“I felt I was too old, if I’m honest, because in my opinion previously it’s younger girls who’ve got it. To get it later on in life, so to speak, is a real thrill.”
The former St Christopher’s and Accrington and Rossendale College pupil, who works at Royal Preston Hospital, said she ‘feels like a local celebrity’.
She said: “I wanted to do it for myself and the town. I’ve always lived in Accrington but I’ve worked around the world as a nurse on cruise ships, in Saudi Arabia and London but I’ve always come back to Accrington.
“To represent Accrington as the Carnival Queen is amazing. I can’t wait for Carnival day. I feel like a local celebrity.”
Helen will be supported by her former secondary school friend Katie Trickett (no relation), who was named runner-up in the competition.
Bev Wood, who helped organise the contest, said: “It was a lovely night. The girls were absolutely beautiful and full of character and personality. Every single one of them were a credit to Accrington and we should be proud to have them as entrants.
“We made the decision to open the judging out to older people. We relaxed the 18 to 30 criteria and both the winner and runner up are in their 30s. They are both available for anybody who might want them to attend events and charity functions.”
Gayle Knight, of the Accrington Carnival committee, said: “We are hoping they will be a wonderful ambassador for the Carnival. One of their first duties is to judge and crown the Carnival Prince and Princess at Oswaldtwistle Mills.”
The contest will take place on Saturday, June 10 from 9am.