THE Littlehampton Carnival queen and her two princesses have been chosen to take place in the 40th year of the event.
Following a judging event on Sunday at the Southfields Jubilee Centre in Littlehampton, which assessed the entrants on their personality, speaking ability and appearance, 15-year-old Mariah Lee, from Littlehampton, was crowned carnival queen.
She will now take a central role in the event, which takes place on July 12, and will represent the carnival for a year.
Mariah has lost three and a half stone over the last year and said being crowned carnival queen had further added to her improved self confidence.
She said: “I was ecstatic and nearly cried. I didn’t have very much confidence but after losing around three and a half stone I felt I had the confidence to put myself forwards for it.”
Mariah said she plans to take A-levels in performing arts, English and photography at TLA and will then consider whether she wants to go to university depending on her grades.
The princesses picked were Lois Reed, 16, from Wick, and Casey Dalton, 14, from Goring.
Lois, also a year-11 student at TLA, said: “I was extremely happy, and my first call was to my gran in Yorkshire, who was really pleased. I’m really looking forward to it and wearing the dresses and getting to meet the little ones (flower girls and junior queens).”
Casey, a year-10 student at Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing who has family in Littlehampton, said: “I didn’t believe it. I didn’t think I would get a call back because it was such a short interview. I feel happy and proud of myself and it’s made me feel more confident.”
Maxine Rendell, carnival royal co-ordinator, said she was hoping to involve carnival organiser Freda Hughes in the procession for the first time.
She added: “We are trying our hardest to get Freda to be in the procession. We will win. She’s been doing this for 40 years and she needs to be part of it for once rather than taking a back seat.”
There is just one day left to vote for junior queens and flower girls, with voting closing tomorrow (Friday).
The winning junior queen and flower girls are those who have the most coupons, available in last week’s Gazette, and will be announced next week.