Lacey Little beat off competition from hundreds of beauties to be named the Top Tot for 2013 after pulling in nearly 8000 votes.
Evening News readers voted in their droves via newspaper coupons, text messages and Facebook for the pretty three-year-old to win the £1000 cash prize.
It was a closely fought contest, with fewer than 250 votes between winner Lacey and second-placed Ruben John McCulley, aged 11 months.
Lacey’s mum, Lara Malone, 25, of Gilmerton, said she was amazed her “little cutie” had taken the top spot.
She said: “We’re absolutely thrilled and a little surprised to be honest.
“I tried my hardest this week to get as many votes from family and friends as possible, but I didn’t expect her to win.
“All the kids that were in the competition were lovely and it’s always a hard competition. But, like every mum, I did think she was the cutest, she’s a cheeky little thing and funny to be around.”
The competition began back in December when the Top Tots team visited Asda at the Jewel, the Gyle, Cameron Toll and Ocean Terminal.
More than 400 photos were taken of tots under five years old, and these were eventually whittled down to just Top Tot Lacey.
Supermarket worker Lara said she had been given a lot of support from customers at the Morrisons store in Gilmerton Road.
She said staff and customers had helped back Lacey’s entry and would be thrilled to find out she had won.
She said: “I’ll have to thank the ones who voted for her next time I see them. I’m sure they will be pleased.
“I think my nana and grandad will be over the moon too as she’s their first great-grandchild and I’m sure they voted a lot for her. Lacey’s running around now at the news.”
Toy Story and Barbie fan Lacey celebrated her third birthday last month so has plenty of new toys to be playing with.
Instead, dad Lee Little, 23, a tiler, said the money would be put into a bank account for her until she gets a bit older.
Runner-up Ruben narrowly missed out with 7611 votes and Braegyn Ross came in third place with 5158. Ruben, who was the only boy to make the top five, had been leading the score for much of the competition and mum Eve McCulley, 29, of Loanhead, said he would always be her top tot.
She said: “We are a wee bit gutted but what can you do? He’s still a sweetie pie in our eyes.
“I’d like to thank his family and friends who supported him. He did really well to be in the top two.”
Now in its fifth year, Scotsman promotions manager Susannah Morgan, who ran this year’s competition, said it had been another big success.
Nearly 65,000 votes were cast in total, with 36,657 votes for the top ten contenders, including double vote coupons and texts. She said: “A huge congratulations to our winner Lacey Little and runners-up Ruben McCulley and Braegyn Ross and to everyone who participated.
“The competition has kept us busy in the promotions department with over 29,000 coupon votes received, in addition to text votes and –new for 2013 – a free Facebook vote.”
Girl power dominates contest
THE battle to become Top Tot has always been a hotly contested one.
The playground bragging rights have been dominated by girls, with three out of the contest’s four winners being of the fairer sex.
Last year, Deryn Baxter finished ahead of hundreds of Capital cuties to be crowned Top Tot 2012.
The then 14-month-old from Drylaw beat the babies and has been regularly recognised ever since.
Jack Donlevy, from Broomhouse, pulled in nearly 4000 votes to win the title in 2011 after uncles, aunties and grandparents showed their support.
Jack’s dad, David, said: “As well as family, we even had people at work cutting out coupons and sending them in. There must have been around 40 people helping out.”
The first Evening News Top Tots contest went to then three-year-old Freya Aldred, from Stenhouse.