while many of those involved in this year’s Miss West Lothian spent the night following the pageant partying, winner Hayley Galloway had to head straight home after being crowned.
For the competition’s youngest ever winner was up bright and early the next morning for a three-hour chemistry exam at James Young High School, in Livingston.
Miss Galloway, 15, who entered at the last minute after thinking it would be “a good laugh”, said she was “very surprised” to be announced as the runaway winner.
Hayley, of Livingston, said: “It’s the first time I’ve ever entered a competition like this!
“I always thought these things would be like the American films you see where all the girls hate each other, but friends of mine who were taking part said it wasn’t like that at all, that everyone got on really well and had a good laugh. I thought I had no chance of winning when I saw some of the other girls – they were absolutely stunning!”
But organiser Eddie Anderson said Hayley stood out from the start. He said: “The girls really have to make an instant impression, and Hayley struck me as very confident straight away, as did the two runners up Rochelle McKay and Cherlyn Simpson. However, Hayley was the clear winner. Usually there’s only a couple of points between the girls in the top three, but Hayley had over 20 points more than second.”
The competition this year used public scoring for the first time, which Eddie admitted caused a bit of controversy.
He said: “There was a bit of booing when audience members didn’t agree with the scores being given, and I think some of the judges felt a bit intimidated by that. But it was the first time we’ve done it, so hopefully people will get more used to it as time goes on.”
Judge Ashley Brown, a former winner of the title, told the Evening News: “The public judging aspect was horrible at first. I think it may have knocked some of the girls confidence a bit during the show because although they weren’t actually in the room when we did it, some people in the audience who knew competitors were texting them the results.” However, both Eddie and Ashley said the night was unaffected by an earlier controversy involving comments posted about competitors on Hearts website Jambos Kickback.
Ashley, 23, who has appeared on America’s Next Top Model, said: “There’s always going to be people who try to bring others down, unfortunately.
“It was great to be back at the competition. It was a tough one to judge, but I admit I had my eye on Hayley from the start. Not only does she have great presence and posture, her personality also really shone through. She was so funny, especially when they asked her what she would spend £1,000 on. She said hairdressing scissors, which I think threw the presenter a wee bit!”
Hayley explained: “I’m training to be a hairdresser and you have to use extremely high-quality scissors. It can cost up to £1,200 for a really good set, but they’ll last you twenty years. I stand by my choice!”
The youngster now hopes to use her fame to raise money for Edinburgh-based charity Simpson’s Special Care Babies.
She said: “My younger brother was born prematurely and unfortunately passed away. Simpson’s were fantastic, they really helped.”
The competition has already benefited one charity, Riverkids of West Lothian, with £800.