Archie McIntyre is the winner of Cute Kids 2014

Russell and Dawn with little Archie McIntyre, voted Cutest Kid of 2014. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Russell and Dawn with little Archie McIntyre, voted Cutest Kid of 2014. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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HIS family always knew he was a little star and now it has been confirmed by a public vote.

With his bright eyes and cheeky smile, little Archie McIntyre has melted readers’ hearts to be crowned the Cutest Kid of 2014.

But the bonny baby, who scooped the top spot from among hundreds of entries, was almost never entered into the contest at all.

Proud granny Jackie Robertson, who has followed top tot competitions in the Evening News for many years, had to convince his parents to put the seven-month-old forward.

She knew that her only grandchild would prove a hit with the public and the 51-year-old from Dalry soon talked daughter Dawn into entering the competition.

Readers voted in their thousands via newspaper coupons and text messages with Archie declared the winner.

Delighted mum Dawn, who works as a nursery nurse in North Berwick, said: “I was a little bit unsure.

“It was my mum, Archie’s granny, who convinced me. She said ‘It’s just a bit of fun’.”

After Archie made the final ten, the family had to wait until this week and for votes to be counted before getting the news that Archie had won.

And when the call came, Dawn, 28, said she was so excited that she nearly burned down her home in Prestonpans.

She left a pan on the stove and by the time she was alerted by the smell of burning, the pan was ruined.

Dawn said: “I couldn’t believe it when he won.

“I am so excited.

“As soon as I heard I ran through to the living room and told my husband.

“I had put a pot on the stove and was doing some apples for Archie’s lunch. I got so 
distracted that the apple burnt to the pan.

“When I came back it was nearly on fire.”

Her 30-year-old golf pro husband Russell, who works at the Gullane course, was equally delighted and kept saying ‘I can’t believe it’.

But even his joy could not match that of granny Jackie who put him forward in the first place.

Dawn said: “When she found out she was so excited she said ‘I can’t wait to tell everybody!’

“She said ‘If I hadn’t suggested it, you never would have entered him’.

“She never doubted he was going to win.”

Archie, who enjoys swimming, music and playing with his toys is of course a bit too young to understand that he has won the competition.

But he already knows how to charm his biggest fan, according to his proud mum.

Dawn said: “The way he smiles, he can melt your heart.

“He tilts his head on one side as if to say ‘You love me’.”

Jackie, who has worked in residential care, said she always hoped that one day she would have a grandson or granddaughter grace the pages of the Evening News, having followed the annual competition for years. She said: “For years I have looked at the tiny tots in the paper and hoped one day that would be my tiny tot.

“It’s a lovely time of year coming up to Christmas and seeing a bunch of beautiful babies, particularly when there is so much bad news out there.

“When it came up in the paper, I thought ‘come on Archie, let’s go!’.

“To me he’s gorgeous and lovely, but I am shell-shocked to learn he has won.

“But this is not just a competition to win.

“It’s a fun way to show off your little one.

“For the old people, it’s a joy to open the paper and see the wee ones. You can see the delight on their faces.

“Every single one of those babies is beautiful and it’s a pleasure to look at them all.”

She added her thanks to the local community, many of whom voted for Archie and played a big part in him winning.

This year, organisers gave people a free vote for every two votes submitted by text message. The ratio was evenly matched, with 49 per cent of entries being boys and 51 per cent girls. The search for the bouncing baby, troublesome toddler or little angel who would be crowned the Cute Kid 2014 began in September.

Parents were given photo sessions before friends and family members were able to cast their votes. After the first round of votes, people were able to vote for their top 20, top 10 and finally, the winner.

Hazel Cameron, promotions manager for the Scotsman Publications, said there had been thousands of votes cast in this competition.

She added: “We were delighted with the response to Cute Kids this year with families from all over the region entering their children.

“As ever all of the contestants looked fabulous – it’s a shame that we can only have one winner.”

Archie’s debut modelling shoot may be his last, as his parents have revealed, and will “probably” be a one-off.

There are certainly no plans to enter him in to any more top tot or bonny baby events in the near future.

Dawn said: “We don’t want to put him in for something else, but we are enjoying this.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com