We’ve all heard the saying “Smile, you never know who is falling in love with it.” But I also like to think, “Try your best, you never know who your inspiring”.
There are many inspiring ladies within the pageant community, but for me I think top billing goes to the remarkable Harriotte Lane.
At the age of 13 Harriotte decided to get into fundraising, it was a suggested part of a pageant she was competing in. The pageant suggested doing bake sales, washing cars to raise some money etc, but Harriotte had bigger plans. Her first event was a fashion show with over 400 guests and 120 students taking part. That night she raised an incredible £3000 for a children’s hospice.
As Harriotte would say she then got the bug. She loved helping others and using her skills to make a difference. Since then Harriotte has gone on to raise £33,000 and the total is still rising, with events and sponsored activities almost monthly.
She has abseiled, zip-wired, ran, modelled and baked her way to this amazing amount helping charities including St Oswalds Hospice, The Christie, Tiny Lives, MacMillan and The Kayaks who she is a young ambassador for, as well as a volunteer. She has organised over 30 events and has forged major links with local businesses, even at such a young age.
In addition to her amazing fundraising Harriotte has over the last 2 years inspired many girls to get involved with fundraising through pageants and has now set up an organisation called the North East Pageant Network. This network has raised over £30,000, since 2016, all thanks to the inspiration of this wonderful young lady.
As well as the direct fundraising Harriotte donates her time to help charities at events, whether it’s shaking a bucket or manning a stand and selling raffle tickets. Since 2013 she has attended over 500 charity and communities events, supporting fundraising and raising awareness. Utilising the North East Pageant Network she provides a resource of volunteers for charities that need bag packs and staffing for events or to share information through social media.
“She would be at a charity event, then that night her inbox would be full of messages about how to get involved” says Mum Sarah “The most memorable was a prom show she walked in, about 6 of the girls who met Harriotte that day have gone on to achieve some amazing charity work and 2 have even won national crowns. Three of them will take to the stage in March alongside Harriotte at the very prestigious Galaxy pageant.
As Harriotte’s network has grown she decided to bring together the group so that she could help support those getting into pageants and those that want to use their titles to really make an impact.
“I see pageants as a team event, I’m not into this hiding appearances and charity money until last minute, I believe that it’s about making an impact together and helping each other become the best version of ourselves” explained Harriotte. “I get dozens of messages from pageant girls not knowing where to start to get an appearance or what to do when there, so I decided to start the North East Pageant Network. It’s a group of likeminded girls that what to make a difference. There’s an online group where I post appearances and share charity work opportunities and they aot only has the group raised over £30,000 in the last year, but it has also contributed to hundreds of charity and committee events, both volunteering and raising awareness. Harriotte hosts her own events as well, both for fundraising and to help share her knowledge and experience of pageants.
“I wanted to make a bigger impact but I’m always constrained by my time, so I figured the best way was to build an army of amazing pageant girls and that way we can really make a difference.” Big thinking from Harriotte that is really working. She has brought into the group previous national title holders that also support the girls and are on hand for any advice.
In March Harriotte heads off to North Wales with other members of the group to tackle the worlds longest, highest and fastest zip-wire. The aim is of raising over £1000 for The Christie, a charity that provides cancer resources beyond the NHS, including building the first ever Proton Beam Therapy in the UK. This treatment is fairly standard in America, and would be a massive step forward for the UK, in the fight against cancer. Harriotte convinced BMW Stratstone North Tyneside branch to sponsor several members of the North East Pageant Network for the adventure, including herself. They saw the amazing impact Harriotte was making following a chance meeting with her at The Chronicle Champions Awards in November.
Girls from the group, many that met Harriotte and were inspired to get into pageants, have gone on to achieve awards for their work and gain points for their university applications whilst adding to their life experience and employability, all things that many don’t give pageants enough credit for.
For me Harriott really embodies what is so remarkable about pageants. She is a perfect representation of all that is good and beautiful, both inside and out. I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg for this outstanding young lady and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Don’t forget to sponsor Harriotte, who is currently raising money for The Christie – Towards a future without cancer, every little (or a lot) counts – Www.justgiving.com/harriotteabseil.