VIDEO: Wigan schoolgirl who battled meningitis wins beauty pageant
A schoolgirl who battled meningitis as a baby has raised Â£10,000 for good causes as she aims to win a national beauty pageant.
Twelve-year-old Caitlin Whalley was crowned Miss Junior Teen Great Britain Wigan and will compete for the national title in Blackpool in October.
She has raised thousands of pounds for charity along the way, with her next fund-raiser taking place in the borough on Sunday.
It is a complete turnaround for the St John Fisher Catholic High School pupil, who had to fight for her life as a baby after developing meningitis.
Her mother Kim Whalley, from Lower Ince, said: “I always say if she hadn’t had meningitis, would she be the character she is today? Anything she does, she puts her all into.”
Caitlin was just five months old when she was diagnosed with the serious illness,
Mrs Whalley said: “She was ill for three days. We were going backwards and forwards to the doctor saying it was a viral infection. On the third day she came out with the rash and we went to emergency.”
She said it was “touch and go” for Caitlin, who needed an operation and spent seven weeks in hospital.
She had to return to hospital over the next 12 months as she had a lot of fluid on her brain.
But fortunately Caitlin recovered well and there were no lasting effects.
Mrs Whalley said: “I look at other children now and children with the meningitis that Caitlin had lose limbs. She is very lucky that nothing like that happened to her.”
Caitlin now enjoys taking part in beauty pageants and has been competing for the past two years, winning several titles.
Mrs Whalley said: “She loves it. You get to meet lots of different people and you do a lot of good work for different charities.”
She has raised around Â£10,000 for charities including Wigan And Leigh Hospice, Headway and Meningitis Foundation.
Her current effort has seen her raise Â£2,700 for Together For Short Lives, a charity for children with life-limiting conditions and their families , and she won the charity award in the competition.
Caitlin hopes her appeal will receive a boost when she holds a fund-raising event from 1pm on Sunday at the Oak Tree pub, in Higher Ince.
There will be a bouncy castle, DJ, stalls, games, raffles and a tombola.