A married mum of two has described the moment she discovered on Valentine’s Day that she was a top finalist for Mrs UK World.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Eliza Coppard, 29, of St Paul’s on the Green, Haywards Heath.
“I felt shocked, amazed, and bewildered, so many different emotions, it was the best news ever!”
Eliza, who works as a health care assistant at The Princess Royal hospital, could now be invited to the next stage of the competition, in Bulgaria.
It’s a step that she admitted makes her feel ‘slightly apprehensive’, thinking of her son and daughter, aged five and three.
She said: “I’ve never left my children and my husband before and I know I would really miss them so I do think I’d find it really hard to do that.
“But I have a very supportive husband who has told me to go for it as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
It is an aspect of the contest many Mrs UK World finalists have to face since the competition proclaims to be ‘the number one contest for married women in the United Kingdom’.
The event’s website states: “The purpose of Mrs UK World is simple: to further empower women in their marriages, and for our winners to inspire others to do the same.”
Eliza said: “In the past Miss World was seen by certain people to be demeaning to women, but personally I disagree.
“I believe if you have got a gift or talent you should put it to as best use as possible - I don’t think there is anything wrong with what they do.
“They get to travel the world and support charities which is a dream come true for many women.”
The Haywards Heath finalist also added that Mrs World differs because ‘it attracts real women, women with curves’.
But can the local mum, who has lived in the town all her life attending St Joseph’s and St Paul’s schools, win the contest?
“I hope to win not only for England but for the World,” she said.
“It would certainly be one of the greatest achievements of my life, along with getting married and the birth of my children.
“If I won Mrs World it would be the most amazing feeling,” she added.
“I could set a good example to wives and mothers around the world to say they can be a wife and mother but at the same time can take pride in themselves and their lifestyles.”
Eliza understands there were 65,000 applicants in England, from which just ten finalists have been selected to potentially represent England on the world stage.
“It would be a massive honour,” she said.