Saturday, 6 August 2016


GRIMSBY Town fans were in fine spirits this afternoon as they headed to Blundell Park for the home match v Morecambe.

No wonder! The match was the first since returning to the Football League  after an all-too-long spell in non-league football.

A 2-0 win, with goals on either side of  half-time from Kayden Jackson and Ben Davies, put the icing on the cake.

Our photographer caught up with some of the fans en route to the match.



Friday, 5 August 2016



FORMER Grimsby woman Angie Beasley has forged a career in the world of glamour - first as a successful beauty queen, then as director of the Miss England competition for which the 2016 was held in July
But life  has not always been a bed of  glitz for the woman, who as a girl, grew up variously in  Buller Street and Felstead Road, then  in  Brereton Avenue, Cleethorpes.
Along the way, there have been many rocky moments, including a tempestuous live-in relationship  with a man who, she says, battered and raped her.
Even as a young child, she was no stranger to trauma.
In November, 1966,  when she was just three and a half, her beloved  baby brother, Trevor, died aged just 11 months  - a victim of cot death.
What made the tragedy worse was that it devastated her mother, a frozen fish packer, who suffered a breakdown such that she was no longer able to climb down stairs and
needed to sleep long hours .
According to Angie, what restored her  mum's will to live was  the compassion shown  to her by Jehovah's  Witnesses  who convinced  her that even the darkest tunnel has light at the end of it.
As she grew up, Angie often found herself resenting  her mother's new-found religious conviction - not least because it meant birthdays and Christmas would never again be celebrated in the household.
Her unorthodox upbringing  also isolated her from certain aspects  of school life - such as attending assemblies and RE lessons - with the result  that she was sometimes ostracised not just by her classmates at Edward Street primary school but also by at least one of her teachers who ritually singled her out for humiliation.
There were further torments at two other schools she attended - Yarborough Road Junior and Lindsey High - including one, at the latter, where she became involved in  a scuffle after another girl jabbed her in the chest, branded  her  a  "weirdo"   and described her mum as "one of those freaks who goes round trying to brainwash people on the doorstep".
The two girls were summoned to the study of the head of year, Mr Duffield, who told Angie: "Remember what they say about sticks and stones . . ."
Turning to the other girl, he said: "There is no room for bigots - and if you don't know what that means, go and look it up."
Turning to both,  he finished:  "Now clear off the pair of you."
Although she did not follow in her mother's footsteps by becoming  become a  Jehovah's Witness herself, the religious influence prevailed.
Angie is a  believer who has regularly  attended Bible study classes for much of her life. The registered address of her company, Miss England Ltd, is at a church.
Now living in Leicestershire, Angie decided to  put down  her  experiences in a book, The Frog Princess,  in which she revealed how, as a child, she once had a spell in care after temporarily falling out  with her dad, a dock worker.
He disapproved of the close friendship she had formed , when she was just 13, with a boy, especially when it resulting her bunking off school to be in his company.
As she reached her 20s, any  tensions with her parents eased, and it was a matter of regret that, after 30 years' marriage, they  decided to split.
Her father subsequently met another woman - then converted to Islam, took the name, Sharif and  mysteriously disappeared from the life of Angie and her two brothers, David and Ian, plus  sisters, Becky and Anna.
Angie also describes some of the other men that have been in her life. These include one whom she feared would throttle her to death after a row in his car until she managed to alert a passing couple by banging on the window.
That incident was followed by a terrible fight which she recounts in disturbingly graphic detail. At the end of it, she says she could hardly recognise herself in the mirror.
"My face was red and puffy, streaked with tears, mascara and blood from a split lip.
"In the morning it would look worse.  I would have bruises all over."
The incident culminated early the next morning in her fleeing their shared house in her dressing gown and slippers.
In recounting these episodes, Angie was assisted by her co-writer, Maria Malone, who visited her twice a week for three months to note down the narrative
"It was like being in therapy," says Angie. "My sessions with Maria  brought back memories  I though  had been buried for ever."
The most fascinating aspects of the book, however, are those in which she describes how her career as a beauty queen developed during  the 1980s when pageants were held at almost every major seaside resort in the country.
For one event at Skegness,  she arrived in the nick of time to register after whizzing down on the back of her boyfriend's motor cycle - with a crash helmet over her rollers!
Her description of the ride  seemed to amuse the judges,  and she won the first prize - £100.
But her catwalk debut, after finishing a day's work as a waitress at Dot's Place cafe in Riby Square, Grimsby,   came at the  old Winter Gardens on Cleethorpes seafront in 1979 when she was 16.
Although a shy teenager from a sheltered background, she had an uncharacteristic and inexplicable impulse to take part in the local heat of a Miss YTV  beauty contest.
She entered  even though it  meant parading in a tight-fitting swimsuit in front of  a large audience, some of whom would probably know her.
" I don't know what made me go in for it,"she says. "Looking back, it's a wonder I didn't do a runner, especially in the dressing room when it dawned  what I had let myself in for.
"My legs were so wobbly with nerves, it was wonder I was even able to stand."
Alas, but unexpectedly there was no fairy tale end to that particular day. Angie  did not win.
The other contestants - one of whom was  Della Dolan who went on to come third in the 1982 Miss World - were far more experienced. Bronzed and groomed, they knew how to present themselves to most glamorous effect to the judges.
Even so, there is no doubt that the occasion changed Angie's life, not least  because it gave her a huge shot of self-confidence, especially when she received many compliments from friends and family after a photograph of the 10 contestants appeared in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph. Even her evangelically-inclined mother was secretly quite proud.
The experience also opened her eyes to opportunity and led her on the  road - one down which she is still travelling - .to sparkling success.
With no qualifications, Angie has made a career  in beauty pageants - first as a regular contestant, then as an event organiser.
As a competitor, she notched up numerous wins at resorts all over the country, including that of Miss Lincolnshire, Miss Lovely Legs  and Miss Cleethorpes.
Her beauty, friendliness, intelligence and warm  personality brought spin-offs in the form of promotions and modelling work which opened the doors to extensive travel not just within the UK but also to Dubai and other exotic locations.
Not bad for a girl with no qualifications who had earlier  worked variously behind bars, as a waitress (including a spell at an Indian restaurant on Cleethorpe Road) and, alongside hundreds of other women in a white overall and a hair net  as a quality control operative on a conveyor belt at Findus Foods.
As a teenager, Angie also used to enjoy performing  in Grimsby with an amateur  dance group  - her solo speciality being to sing her own  version of the Kate Bush hit, Wuthering Heights.
"None of us had any formal training - we just loved getting together and rehearsing,"she says.
Although the popularity of beauty pageants had taken a dip over the past couple of decades, the Miss England competition continues to thrive.
Now living in a village outside  Leicester,  Angie  is in her 15th year as a director of Miss England and keen to encourage more girls from the Cleethorpes and Grimsby area to consider following in her footsteps on the catwalk. The details are on the website
"I don't think there was ever a less likely beauty queen than me,"she says. "When I was younger, I was so shy and lacking in self-confidence I never dared open my mouth.
"The first time I got on the catwalk at the Winter Gardens, I hadn't a clue what I was doing, but it really didn't matter.
"The main thing was to get out there and give it my best shot. I knew it was a chance to make things better, and I was determined to take it."
  • For this year's Miss England final,  held in Southport  from July 19-21, Great Grimsby was represented  by 19-year-old Mille Margetts who works for estate agents Pygott & Crone and who once starred as a pantomime munchkin in The Wizard of Oz.
  • The Frog Princess is published in paperback, at £6.99,  by  Penguin.