Leicester Mercury Baby and Toddler of the Year 2012 - it's a family affair!
Winning the Mercury Baby and Toddler of the Year title has become something of a family tradition in one Leicester household.
Fourteen years after big brother Marco, now 17, won the coveted title, one-year-old Jessica Barley, of Thurnby Lodge, can be revealed as our 2012 winner.
The photogenic toddler, who wooed judges with her cute looks and cheeky smile, was among more than 1,200 youngsters who had their pictures taken in the Highcross Leicester shopping centre when the search began in July.
A photograph of every child appeared in a Mercury supplement in August, with readers voting for their favourites in four categories.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Jessica's winning smile triumphed in the 10 to 18-month section and it was then left to a panel of independent judges to choose her as their overall winner. Mum Joanne Greenwood, 34, said: "It's amazing really, the emotions I feel are extreme – I'm excited, a bit shocked and, of course, very proud of her.
"Jessica is a happy character and does take a great picture. She loves the camera and making a show of herself – you could say she's a bit of an attention- seeker.
"For her to win all these years after Marco is incredible – and they've got the same curly hair."
Jessica is dad Kurt Barley's first child and Joanne's fourth. "She's a bit of a daddy's girl," said Joanne. "She's got his dimples on her cheeks and likes making him play with her and her dollies."
Kurt said: "When I found out she'd won I couldn't wait to tell everybody. I'm a very proud dad."
Each category winner scooped £500, with Jessica picking up £1,500 as the overall winner.
"I think I'm going to treat her to a new pram for her dollies which she's had her eye on, and use the rest to start a savings account for when she's older," said Joanne.
Cole Freer, nine months, won the nine months and under category, to the delight of mum Laura Coldman and dad Taylor Freer, from Groby.
"He's such a cheeky chappy," said Laura, 20. "He does the funniest things and is always making me laugh.
"The photo taken for the competition is among my favourites, apart from the food stain on his top, but that's Cole for you."
Salma Akhtar, 30, from Evington, Leicester, whose daughter, Jasmine, two, won the 19 to 36 months title, said: "She's a bit bossy, talks a lot and is a show-off, but is a real character.
"All the family are so happy, including her sisters Sana, 11, and Simra, five, and especially her grandma, Nasim, who was so pleased when I told her the good news.''
Phoenix Johnstone, four, from Thurmaston, won the three to five years category.
Mum Zowie, 30, said: "Phoenix is over the moon about winning. She's a really happy girl and very lively. She loves animals and helping out at her school farm at Eastfield Primary School. Her dad Kris and I are very proud of her."
The judging panel included Leicester Mercury editor Richard Bettsworth, retired model agency executive Pat Keeling, assistant city mayor Manjula Sood and Gurvinder Rupra, marketing manager at Highcross.
Pat, a former model, said: "It was incredibly difficult to choose an overall winner.
"I think what swung it in our minds, and the panel's decision was unanimous, was how Jessica's personality really shone through in her photograph.''