Belfast Telegraph

Miss Ireland reveals joy at how mum saw her crowned months after she had stroke

By Staff Reporter

The stunning Northern Irish student crowned the new Miss Ireland has paid tribute to her mum after she was at her side for the ceremony - despite suffering a stroke in recent months.

Sacha Livingstone from Hillsborough took the title in Dublin's Crowne Plaza Hotel on Friday night, with her proud mother Pauline the first to congratulate her.

But not even a year ago, the 20-year-old blonde Ulster University student had been holding vigil at her mum's hospital bedside after she suffered a stroke aged just 49.

"Luckily it wasn't a massive stroke and she has recovered well," Sacha told the Sunday Mirror.

"She was at work when she had the stroke, but if it had all taken place in front of me I don't know what I would have done.

"I never knew anything about strokes beforehand, and I had no idea it could affect someone so young.

"So I am really passionate about reaching out, especially to younger people, to get across the message it can happen to anyone."

The Co Down portrait artist said when her mother heard Sacha was the winner, "she was so excited".

"She was loving it, running around telling everyone I was her daughter.

"She is doing well - she is fully recovered and is back to work, so we've been lucky."

Now Sacha has vowed to use her role to raise awareness of strokes and promote the Chest, Heart and Stroke charity's work.

The Ulster University student has also described herself as a feminist. Sacha, who models for the top CMPR agency, had told judges from the stage: "Personally I think looks aren't everything."

She said: "I said that I didn't think beauty was everything and they seemed to like my answer.

"Being in the competition has been quite empowering for me despite the stigma that can be attached to beauty pageants.

"In my degree I've been specialising in feminism and gender identity. I don't think things that concern beauty such as pageants conflict with my feminist beliefs. I believe you can be a beauty queen and a feminist.

"I want to represent the modern day woman."

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