IT’S only a few months until the Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne, but Littlehampton has crowned its newest “royal” this week, Carnival Junior Queen Zoe Bridger.
Zoe, 11, a pupil of Summerlea Primary School, Rustington, was the Gazette readers’ choice when all the voting slips were counted up this week.
And there was more than a little subterfuge by mum Karen, in persuading Zoe and her sister Mia, eight, to “dress up nicely” to go out for their dad, Dan’s, birthday on Tuesday.
They were actually going to Littlehampton Carnival president Freda Hughes’ home, where they were given the news that Zoe was the new Junior Carnival Queen, and Mia, with Abigail Baker, had been chosen by readers as the two flower girls to accompany her and the other carnival royals in the great parade on July 14.
Zoe, a member of Rustington Guides, plays netball for her school and is also a student at the Lorna Benson School of Dance in Rustington.
She said: “I wanted to be in the competition because it’s exciting and fun. I really like watching the carnival, and it’s going to be great to be in the parade. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Mia was keen to enter the flower girl competition after hearing her sister had put herself forward for the junior queen title.
“I’m quite excited about being a flower girl – I’ve got butterflies in my tummy. I’m going to tell all my friends at school tomorrow that I’m in the carnival,” she said.
Abigail, seven, who attends Littlehampton’s River Beach Primary School and has just joined the Sussex Tornados cheerleading group, was prompted to go in for the flower girl competition by her mum Kerry Hodder.
“Mum suggested it and I thought it was a good idea,” she said.
“I was telling everyone to vote for me, and now I’m really excited about being in the parade.”
Zoe wins £50, a trophy and daywear for her carnival duties, as well as a fabulous dress for Carnival Day.
Mia and Abigail each receive £25, a trophy, daywear and beautiful dresses fit for the parade.
The happy trio of girls will be joining Carnival Queen Kirsty Alderton and princesses Nicole Weller and Jessica Paddick, who are keeping their titles for a further year, having been praised by Freda for their excellent efforts in their roles.
The Gazette and carnival organisers would like to thank all who voted and took part in the competitions, and sponsors the Arun View Inn.