A BLACKBURN eight-year-old has won two prizes with the backing of the Poppy-Mai Foundation.

Lexi Griffin came third in the International Grand Final of Miss British Empire 2017 on August 24.

Scouted to appear as ‘Mini Miss Blackburn’, she won ‘Mini Miss Photogenic’ and ‘Best Smile’.

The event took place in Buckinghamshire at the luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Lexi, from Waterloo Close, was sponsored by Andy and Sammi Barnard and The Poppy-Mai Foundation, a child cancer charity named after their daughter who died from a very rare progressive malignant rhabdoid tumour in May last year.

It aims to help raise awareness of child cancer and build a sanctuary where terminally ill children can go and stay with their families to make lasting memories.

These short breaks will be free of charge and funded by the Foundation.

Called ‘Poppy’s Field’ the project’s provisional first site has been found in the Ribble Valley.

In return for the foundation’s support, Lexi has now decided to fundraise for the charity by donating her pageant dress.

Mr Barnard, 33, said he was pleased to support her competition entry and delighted that she had given her costume to raise cash for the foundation.

In the competition the eight-year-old years old took to stage to perform in front of an audience by singing ‘Fight Song’ in a talent round.

Lexi’s mum Sonya said: “We are so proud of her and what she did.

“Lexi is so proud to have done so well. She was so excited.

“We approached the Poppy-Mai foundation, which is great charity to support her and officially sponsor her in this and they agreed.

“We paid all the fees but we needed an organisation to represent and we were so moved Poppy-Mai’s story this was the charity we wanted to boost and help other children.

“Now we are selling her main pageant dress from the competition to sell to raise funds for the foundation. She just wants to help them as they helped us.

“Lexi was representing Blackburn and children so it seemed the ideal choice and we are very grateful to the Barnards.”

Mr Barnard said: “We were very happy and pleased to sponsor Lexi in the competition when Sonya, who has been a strong supporter of the Poppy-Mai Foundation asked us.

“I am delighted she has given us the pageant dress to auction.

“This is what the foundation is all about - young people, families and communities.”