Teenage pageant queen offers Christmas meal to family in need

Teenager bids to achieve pageant stardom with fundraising effort

Emily Merchant, who will be Miss Teen Cambridgeshire for 2021, has donated a Christmas dinner to one family and hopes to continue her fundraising efforts in the new year. - Credit: Supplied/Emily Merchant

A teenager tipped to become one of the country’s leading pageant girls is hoping her fundraising efforts can make more people feel happier as she bids to achieve national success. 

Emily Merchant, from Tydd St Giles near Wisbech, wanted to donate a Christmas dinner alongside festive treats to a family that may have struggled more than most this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Emily, who will be Miss Teen Cambridgeshire 2021, has been inundated with interest after sharing the idea on social media, all with one aim in mind. 

“I decided as an act of kindness and to give back to my community a full Christmas dinner and treats to a family who has struggled so much this year due to Covid and deserve a little weight to come off their shoulders,” she said. 

“I don’t expect any donations towards the Christmas dinner; I just simply wanted to make a family smile.” 

The 16-year-old is also raising funds for her chosen charity SmileTrain, which aims to provide a sustainable approach to solving cleft lip and palate, a facial birth defect that affects one in 700 babies in the UK. 

She aims to support the children’s charity throughout next year in the run-up to the Miss Pageant Queen UK in September, to help cover the cost of as many cleft surgeries as possible. 

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“I wanted to make sure I raised money for a charity not talked about often, but also one that has amazing outcomes,” Emily said. 

“Due to Covid, I know face to face event will be very tricky to do, but I am still going to raise as much money as I can for SmileTrain.” 

Although it isn’t essential to fundraise, Emily wanted to make her own mark on her local community as she devises her own challenges for charity. 

Emily has also organised a raffle for a designer watch where all proceeds go to SmileTrain, just one of many initiatives she hopes will make a difference. 

“I know face-to-face events will be very tricky to do, but I am still going to raise as much money as I can,” she added. 

“It is not essential to fundraise, however, I felt the need to help out in my community as well as worldwide because I am making people that one bit happier, which makes me feel good inside.”