Forty is the new 20 for this year's Sheringham carnival queen
PUBLISHED: 09:18 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 11 May 2019
At 40, this year's Sheringham carnival queen, Emma Taylor, may be more than twice the age of her recent predecessors, but the fitness instructor and mum of two teenagers believes her self confidence and life experience give her a chance to put a new spin on the role.
"I suppose it is a bit unusual, but I find it very easy to speak to people and I think I have a lot to offer," she said.
After leaving the Hewett School, Norwich-born Mrs Taylor spent ten years as an office worker, before giving up work to care for her youngest daughter Lauren, who was born with a chromosome disorder that left her partially sighted, hearing impaired and unable to breathe without support.
The youngster lost her fight for life in 2010 aged 15 months, not long after appearing in the carnival parade with her mum, dad and siblings as part of a Shrek-themed family entry.
Determined Lauren wouldn't be forgotten, Mrs Taylor has since raised thousands for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) in her memory, with her brother Andrew Sabberton, from Norwich, also raising more than £4,000 for the charity by completing the 48-mile Six Peaks Challenge and this year's London Marathon.
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Mrs Taylor, who now juggles working as a fitness instructor at Sheringham's Splash leisure centre with looking after 13-year-old son Thomas and daughter Caitlin, 14, has also organised fitness-themed fundraising events for Children in Need and mental health charity Mind.
She said she decided to enter the carnival queen selection contest as a way of supporting the community.
"I will never forget the amazing support we had for Lauren, and I hope that by doing this, it will encourage help other people to get involved in the carnival as it is a fantastic event that brings the whole community together," she explained.
Mrs Taylor will be crowned queen on August 4 alongside 16-year-old attendant Alisha Redgrave and the carnival prince and princess.
"I am really looking forward to the whole week," she said. "Lauren would have been 10 in August so it's a nice way to remember her, and there couldn't be a better way to celebrate being 40."
Sheringham carnival runs from August 3 to 11. For a full programme, visit www.sheringhamcarnival.com or the carnival Facebook page.