A teenage Charity champion who has battled anxiety and lifelong health problems now has her sights set on recognising local heroes.
Leah Canning has launched the ‘Inverclyde Inspirational Awards’ in a bid to give back to her community. The ambitious 18-year-old former beauty pageant queen, who is a tireless volunteer and top enterprise pupil, says she wants to recognise achievements of unsung heroes.
Former Inverclyde Academy pupil Leah has just turned down offers to go to University to take on a modern apprenticeship with Scottish Qualification Authority, after impressing bosses during a tough recruitment process.
She says it was all made possible by her time on the catwalk and the support of all the strong women in her life, including her late great-nan. School leaver Leah said:
“I couldn’t have done any of this without the skills I learned taking part in beauty pageants.
“I learned so much about public speaking, confidence and interview skills. It definitely helped me in my interview with the SQA.”
“I have also had so many strong women in my life like my mum and my nan. But I am inspired by my great-nan Margaret Canning who battled so many health problems but never gave up and I will never give up.”
Last year the teenager spoke openly about her battle with anxiety and panic attacks, which left her hospitalised. She also continually takes on social media bullies online, calling out trolls.
Leah was given little chance of survival when she was born three months premature and her mum Lynette was told that she was unlikely to make it.
Since then Leah has proved everyone wrong and has battled through many barriers including hypermobility caused by her premature birth.
As a youngster, she took up beauty pageantry and was signed up by Glasgow based Models and Beauty Pageants. She went to be crowned Miss Teen Scotland and Miss Queen UK, as well as mentoring younger contestants and taking up charity fundraising.
The Inspirational Inverclyde Awards final is taking place at the Chartroom in Inverkip on 28 September and is sponsored by Louise Thompson of Cupcake Dreams Events and Party Planner. Andrew Bowman, Managing Director of ARB Growth is also confirmed as a judge for the awards.
“ARB Growth is delighted to be supporting these inaugural awards and we were honoured to be asked by Leah to be involved.
“Leah has done a fabulous job in moulding the awards from an idea to reality and we look forward to the evening to celebrate and recognise the nominees and winners.”
Leah is now accepting nominations for her Inspirational Inverclyde Awards and the categories are:
Article and images: Greenock Telegraph