Burnley girl who beat meningitis is top model

Jessica Fay
Jessica Fay

A little girl, who battled back from the brink of death when she was struck down with meningitis as a baby, is set for stardom after being chosen to represent the North-West of England in an international modelling competition.

Plucky Jessica Fay, who is only six, beat off competition from 34 other contestants to win the title of Mini Miss North-West Face of the Globe. She will now go forward to compete at the grand finals of the international competition in Disneyland, Paris.

Jessica’s proud mum, Miss Laura Bell, said: “Jessica entered the competition by chance. She had been due to take part in a catalogue shoot but she broke her arm playing out so she couldn’t do it.

“I looked at the Face of the Globe competition and promised her she could have a go so she did, complete with her arm in a cast!’’

“The Face of the Globe competition is all about natural beauty, charisma and personality and when Jessica got on that stage she looked like she was born to do it. No-one would guess what she has been through and what she is still suffering from.’’

Jessica, who lives with her mum, dad and four brothers in the Brunshaw area of Burnley and goes to St John’s Primary School, made the headlines in the Burnley Express when she contracted the deadly meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia when she was only three months old. Laura praised staff at Burnley General Hospital for saving Jessica’s life before she was transferred to the intensive care unit at Pendlebury Children’s Hospital in Manchester. The tiny tot battled back to health but a legacy of the disease is that she suffered brain damage and the condition dyspraxia which affects her language and thought process. But the bubbly and outgoing youngster blossoms on stage or in front of a camera and has been chosen for several photo shoots and promotions for some of the UK’s top stores.

Laura added: “There will be contestants from all over the world at the competition in Paris but that will not put Jessica off, she loves it and she just gets on with it.’’

All money raised through the competition is donated to charity and Laura is now on the lookout for sponsorship to foot the bill for items Jessica needs for the trip including her passport, outfits and shoes. Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to log onto faceoftheglobe.com/jessica-england/4577422329.