A stunning aerospace engineer from Lancashire has been crowned as the first redheaded Miss England.
Jessica Gagen, 26, has openly spoken about the bullying and teasing she received in her childhood for being ginger.
She says that she wants to use her new crown to empower redheads and encourage young girls to consider a future in STEM careers.
Jessica, an aerospace engineer, missed out on the crown last year but said earlier this year when telling her Instagram followers she was trying again: “There has never been a ginger Miss England, and there may never be a ginger Miss England – but I am happy to be the person to smile in the face of defeat once more if it means I can empower the redheads being bullied in school along the way.”
Over the course of her Miss England journey, she ran consecutive 5km runs for 96 days in fancy dress to raise money for charity.
She’s also said she wants to represent ‘all of the redheads who feel self conscious about their pale attributes’.
Upon being crowned Miss Lancashire earlier this year, Jessica said: “This little sash not only qualifies me for this year’s Miss England final, but allows me to further reach out to teen girls who may otherwise go uninformed about the fabulous opportunities available to them in engineering and aviation careers. Empowerment, education and resilience. Redheads, we’re one step closer.”
She has also posted, before she was named Miss England: “My aim in gaining the title remains the same as it was last year – to use the platform (who’s outreach is mostly female), to further educate girls about engineering, it’s variety of disciplines and the fabulous career opportunities the subject can lead to.
“If I’m successful, not only will I become the very first Miss England to hold a degree in aerospace engineering, but I’ll be the first Miss England ever to possess natural ginger hair.”
Speaking of her childhood bullying, she wrote: “If this is happening to you, hear me out when I say that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Just because it’s happening now, doesn’t mean it’ll happen for the rest of your life! By the end of secondary school I thrived; I was surrounded by lovely people, got a cracking set of grades and excelled in sport – and you can too!
“One bad chapter doesn’t have to last the rest of the book. Keep on reading.”
Eurovision 2023 grand final to be screened live in cinemas across the UK
The grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest is to be screened live in cinemas across the UK for the first time ever.
With fans from across the globe set to descend on Liverpool in a couple of months time as the UK hosts the 2023 edition of the world’s biggest song competition on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine, those who weren’t lucky enough to secure tickets will instead by able to head to their nearest cinema to experience the action on the big screen.
Distributor CinemaLive has announced it will be broadcasting the Eurovision grand final show live in cinemas nationwide for the first time ever.
It means that Eurovision fans up and down the country who missed out on grabbing tickets to the final – which sold out in under 40 minutes after going on sale earlier this month – will be able to come together to celebrate what is set to be the “biggest, brightest, boldest music party of the year”.
500 cinemas across the UK, including several here in Greater Manchester, will be screening the grand final on Saturday 13 May.
Vue, Odeon, Cineworld, and Everyman are just some of the cinema chains taking part.
Vue Manchester Printworks, Odeon Great Northern, and Everyman Manchester are the Manchester city centre venues lined-up to screen the event – with cinemas in the The Lowry Outlet Mall, Trafford Centre, Didsbury, Heaton Moor, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bolton, and more also set to welcome Eurovision fans through their doors.
Event organisers say the screenings will encourage singalongs and fancy dress.
“We’re delighted to be working with the BBC to bring Eurovision’s grand final live into cinemas across the UK for the first time ever,” said John Travers from CinemaLive.
“We want audiences to enjoy themselves, so get your fancy dress on, and come together to enjoy this historic occasion on the big screen.”
With an illustrious entertainment career spanning over four decades, O’Grady may have been most well-known and loved by British audiences as a comedian, presenter, broadcaster, actor, writer, and the former drag queen Lily Savage – but he was also one of the nation’s most-famous dog lovers and animal rights advocates.
O’Grady was a longtime supporter and Ambassador of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and helped raise the profile of the shelter to millions around the world through the hugely-popular ITV series Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs.
Battersea says there’s “no doubting” that O’Grady’s influence has helped thousands of rescue animals find new homes over the years.
Over several series of the show, O’Grady would make an effort to spend quality time with these animals and show-off all of their quirks and loveable qualities, which went a long way to proving that rescue animals “really are the best pets”.
Paying an emotional tribute to O’Grady following his passing today, Peter Laurie – Chief Executive of Battersea – said: “To many, Paul O’Grady was the immensely popular TV and radio presenter and comedian who lit up their screens with his razor-sharp humour and perpetual generosity and warmth [but] Battersea will forever remember Paul as a devoted animal lover with the biggest heart, who fell head over heels in love with every dog he met at our centres.
“Paul will always be associated with Battersea and we are truly saddened to have lost such a true friend and huge part of our charity.
“Paul had an extremely hands on approach as a Battersea Ambassador and has been fundamental in helping our charity to communicate important campaign messages.
“He was a champion for the underdog and would do anything to ensure all animals live a healthy and happy life.
“He will be dearly missed.”
Since the news of O’Grady’s passing was announced, touching tributes have been pouring in in their hundreds from right across the world of entertainment and on social media.
Countless famous names have shared supportive messages and memories.
Emotional tributes to O’Grady have been flooding in all morning, both from those who knew and had worked with him in the past, and from those who admired his work and all that he achieved and had stood for throughout his respected career.