Our fantastic Miss Great Britain’s

October 2, 2023 12:18 pm

The support shown for Alex’s Wish by the Miss Great Britain, Ms Great Britain and Ms Great Britain Classic finalists clearly shows that their beauty extends far beyond good looks.

In the last three and a half years that the GB ladies have been involved with us, they have raised more than £72,000 for Alex’s Wish – and helped spread the word about Duchenne and our goals across the UK.

We talk to some of the amazing, beautiful, talented and inspirational women who are giving up their time – and taking on new challenges – to learn more about Duchenne and raise vital funds to find treatments and ultimately a cure

Miss Great Britain finalist Taslimah Rassool, a London-based actor and former news anchor for Kuwait TV, is making history.

Taslimah is the first finalist in the beauty pageant to wear the hijab and is proud to be able to use her profile in the national competition to raise funds for worthy causes.

And, in the case of Alex’s Wish, she is drawing on her own personal experience. Although now fully recovered, Taslimah suffered temporary paralysis and severe arthritis from the side effects of a rare blood disorder.

She said: “I was unable to move my legs and spent two weeks in hospital. I was so weak I couldn’t even carry one bag of shopping and needed a lot of physio. Because of my experience I can relate to what it’s like when muscles deteriorate, and your body won’t do what you want it to do.”

Keen to promote the work of Alex’s Wish – and Cancer Research, the other charity chosen by the GB ladies – Taslimah has brought her own individual style and panache to fundraising.

She said: “I wanted to reach one million people but because of the cost of living crisis I suggested each person just gave £1. Even that was a struggle for some though. It then occurred to me that as the first GB woman in a hijab why not create my own line of hijabs and split the proceeds between the two charities. I showed a range of diamond encrusted and plain hijabs which generated a lot of TV and press attention, especially in Pakistani, Somali, Indian and Bangladeshi communities.”

With the help of family members, who all put on Alex’s Wish T-shirts, Taslimah has also collected donations at events, including at a big festival in London to celebrate Eid.

She added: “Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam and I want people to see that this is one of the main reasons I entered the competition. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be a Miss GB finalist. It’s not about uploading your photo to a website then parading about.”

Ms GB Classic finalist Angela Taylor, a 48-year-old mum of three and ENT nurse in Norwich, is also pleased to have the opportunity to support Alex’s Wish.

She said: “It’s been a real eye opener. I knew about muscular dystrophy before but not a lot about Duchenne. As a GB finalist I’ve learned so much and it’s knowledge I can pass on in my work as a nurse. I’m a mum to a 17-year-old and I can relate to why Alex’s parents set up the charity and want to do all they can to find a cure for Duchenne.”

Angela is also pleased that there’s a category for contestants aged over 45, although she admits to not being as intrepid as other competitors, some of whom have abseiled down tall buildings to raise money.

She added: “I’m now in training for the inflatable assault course in September! It’s great that the competition is open to my age group and that these days it’s about empowering and supporting each other not just how you look.”

For Berkshire-based Ms GB finalist Ella Stiles, it was actually Alex’s Wish that first inspired her to enter the pageant. Ella cares for a 26-year-old with Duchenne, and through this personal connection she last year raised £13,000 for a young boy with DMD in her local community.

 She said: “When I heard that Ms Great Britain and pageants are less to do with bikini beauty contests and a lot to do with fund raising for worthy causes, I started to think about entering. Then, when I saw that the affiliated charity was Alex’s Wish I just knew I had to enter.

“I know that one day we WILL find a cure, and I want to be part of finding that cure. As a nurse I do my bit by making someone with Duchenne’s life easier. We also need to raise money for new treatments and equipment like the Smart suit which will help people live more comfortably. In June, I raised £7,000 with a rugby themed gala evening where guest speaker was legendary referee Nigel Owens. I have a little way to go yet but £10,000 is my goal!”

Emma Hallam, Alex’s mum and CEO of Alex’s Wish, said she was immensely grateful to all the GB ladies for their help and support.

She said: “They are truly beautiful people, inside and out. Thanks to their tremendous efforts – and the great publicity they generate – we’ve been able to get the message about Duchenne and what Alex’s Wish hopes to achieve, to a much wider audience.”

Veronica Walker, Ms Great Britian finalist from Edinburgh has raised over £15,000 for Alex’s Wish.

“When my twins were in intensive care, I recognised there are a lot of children’s charities that need support. We raised £ 10,000 in 2019 for the intensive care unit here in Edinburgh to assist other families. At times, it was heartbreaking to see other children in intensive care, much less than the size of our twins, so hard. When I heard about Alex’s Wish from Miss GB, I read about Emma and Alex’s journey and this really touched me, so I set about raising awareness and money for this amazing charity. “

“I’ve challenged myself in a lot of different ways to raise as much money as possible for Alex’s Wish. I jumped out of a perfectly good aircraft at 13,000 feet. I celebrated my 34th birthday this year in aid of Alex’s Wish by organising an Afternoon Tea for a fabulous 30 ladies, raising £7 000 in that afternoon. I hosted a charity golf day, a football fundraising event for 20 children to play football and have some fun. I also went to some presentations and food festivals where I served food and drinks to fundraise for Alex’s Wish. What a happy experience”

“It’s a really lovely feeling, one of great satisfaction to me personally. I put a lot into organising the events, and I think my commitment and passion paid off. This journey has also given me the opportunity to meet Emma and hear about her journey, such a moving story. On hearing about this, I was even more driven to make Alex’s Wish my best fundraiser yet. I hope the money raised will help towards new research into cardiac effects in Duchenne.”

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