A LOCAL schoolgirl is preparing to head off to an international pageant, and her journey into the world of competing stemmed from simple acts of kindness during lockdown. Eight year-old LaceyLou McEvoy will head to England later this week, before travelling to France, for the first in a two-stage Face of Empowering Women (FOEW) International Pageant. It all started back in 2020, in the grip of the pandemic, when the world ground to a near halt. Stuck at home, with hardly anywhere to go and very little to do, she began decorating pebbles and leaving them with her neighbours.
From here, she offered to help more elderly members of her community, and those isolating, through dog walks and really made her name for being a kind and helpful young girl. And it was through this, and primarily her generous endeavours, that she was nominated for a charity pageant, which she won that autumn! Since then Lacey-Lou, a pupil at St Malachy’s Primary School in Kilcoo, has gone from strength to strength, in terms of winning competitions and raising money for good causes. With £6,000 raised since 2021, and a further £4,000 soon to be lodged with the NHS and brain injury support charity Headway, her parents Paul and Maureen are thrilled with her endeavours to date. And it is these endeavours that will see her head to England later this week to take part in the first phase of the FOEW International Pageant, before she heads to Disneyland Paris at the weekend for the next round.
As part of the pageant format, Lacey-Lou will travel armed with a number of different outfits – so much so that the family will take a total of six suitcases with them for the week they are away! Her very proud mummy explained that none of this would have been achieved if it had not been for someone nominating Lacey-Lou back in 2020. “So much has happened since then, and we are all so very proud of Lacey-Lou,” she said, adding that one of her daughter’s best qualities is that, in addition to wanting to help others, she has never let the pageant circuit go to her head. “It’s a very different set-up to the pageants in America,” she explained. “Everyone taking part has to create journals of what they have done, be interviewed by judging panels and take part in photoshoots.”
Maureen added that over the years her little girl has fundraised through online raffles, as well as organised plant and bun sales, a car wash, book sales, and car boot sales selling clothes, shoes and household items. She added that LaceyLou likes to donate to random charities as “acts of kindness”, and has supported good causes including the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, Cancer Focus, Northern Ireland Hospice and Chest, Heart and Stroke plus made numerous donations to local foodbanks and Women’s Aid. Also, in 2021 and 2022, Lacey-Lou made Easter egg and selection box donations to children in Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area hospitals. Added Maureen: “We are just so proud of her, and it’s amazing to think that this came from nowhere. “It really was a case of a wee girl off school because of lockdown, with not much to do. “Never did we think that those little acts of kindness would set the path for Lacey-Lou now taking part in an international pageant!’’