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Four-year-old vegan born with seven holes in her heart crowned Junior Miss Norfolk 2017

PUBLISHED: 12:54 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:55 03 November 2017

Lily won Junior Miss Norfolk this year (Photo: Sergio Moreno)

Lily won Junior Miss Norfolk this year (Photo: Sergio Moreno)

Archant

Lily Barba Greatrex is only four-years-old yet has already overcome and achieved so much.

Lily got into modelling as her father is a photographer  (Photo:Sergio Moreno)Lily got into modelling as her father is a photographer (Photo:Sergio Moreno)

Born in Spain with a life-threatening heart condition, Lily’s parents, Chloe Greatrex, 24, and Sergio Barba Moreno, 27, were told she would never lead a normal life.

Lily had seven holes in her heart and was at high risk of a heart attack. She also had an extremely weak immune system and had to have injections to boost it. Her parents faced the worry that if their daughter got sick with a common cold she would be unable to fight the infection.

But despite all this, she has gone on to defy the odds stacked against her.

Although medical professionals had said it would be unlikely that Lily would be able to take part in any physical activity, she regularly exercises and enjoys an active lifestyle, just like any other child.

Lily with the other Miss United Kingdom winners (Photo: Andreas Christaki - http://andreas-photography.co.uk/)Lily with the other Miss United Kingdom winners (Photo: Andreas Christaki - http://andreas-photography.co.uk/)

But her favourite past time is modelling.

She first got into it due to her father’s love of photography. Family and friends quickly realised how photogenic she was and just how much she enjoyed dressing up and posing in front of the camera. She soon signed with a modelling agency in Madrid.

Shortly after the family moved to Norwich in April this year, Lily became involved with Castle Mall’s Real People campaign, which involved placing genuine shoppers on their advertisements. Lily entered the competition and won the public vote by an overwhelming 500 votes. Her photo now appears on the advertising hoardings in Castle Mall.

A lover of all things Disney Princess, Lily was then attracted to a local pageant which had a Disney-wear round. She went on to win the title of Junior Miss Norfolk 2017, hosted by The Kerri Parker Academy in Norwich, and received her first sash and crown. Winning the title enabled Lily to progress to the Miss United Kingdom finals in Birmingham in October.

Like any ofther little girl, Lily loves to dress up and be the centre of attention (Photo: Andreas Christaki - http://andreas-photography.co.uk/)Like any ofther little girl, Lily loves to dress up and be the centre of attention (Photo: Andreas Christaki - http://andreas-photography.co.uk/)

Chloe said: “Lily was the first to begin the show and was so excited to walk the catwalk and pose for the judges and photographers. She won the title of Miss UK Angel 2017 and secured her second title, crown and sash.”

Lily’s love of pageants and performing shows no signs of dwindling. When she gets older she wants to sing, dance, act and model.

She also wants to help animals and people and is planning to spend Christmas Day at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with the patients.

Having spent so much time in hospital herself, Lily understands what it feels like to be away from home during the festive period.

Lily’s parents are exceptionally proud of her and hope that her achievements will be an inspiration to others. Disability does not necessarily have to hold you back from the things you enjoy doing most in life, they say.

Chloe continued: “Lily sometimes seems older than her years and exudes confidence when she is the centre of attention. We will support Lily in whatever direction she wants to take in life and hope she continues to inspire others and empower them to follow their dreams.”

Her vegan diet may be perceived as unusual for a four-year-old but it was recommended by doctors to help minimise further health complications.

Lily’s mother Chloe says that while Lily may be young, she is very aware that she is a vegan and is proud that she doesn’t eat animal products.

She said: “Lily has made the connection between animals and food and, because of her love all animals, would never want to eat one.

“Her favourite vegan meal is the family’s homemade macaroni and cheese.”

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