Miss England herself was conspicuous by her absence when a plane named after the prestigious beauty title took off on Virgin Airlines’ inaugural flight from Manchester to San Francisco - and her Preston-based family are furious.
Elizabeth Grant, 20, holds the Miss England title until July - and her dad Des feels it would have been fitting for the former Corpus Christi High School student to have been invited along to the launch of the new service this week.
“I am absolutely staggered that she wasn’t invited,” said Des. “Virgin boss Richard Branson has posed for many publicity shots over the years with previous Miss England title holders and it would have been appropriate for Elizabeth to have been asked along for the big launch, especially as she lives practically on Manchester Airport’s doorstep.
“When I told friends that there had been no contact from Virgin, they were amazed. I suppose it could have been an oversight on Virgin’s part but when a plane called Miss England takes off on such an important new service, I have to feel it’s not the same without the current holder of the title there.
“There were around 22,000 contenders for the title this time so it is still a very prestigious event and a real honour to win.”
The Ribbleton beauty queen, who turns 21 later this month and is still the reigning Miss Preston, won the national title at Southport’s Floral Hall last summer.
Angie Beasley, organiser of the Miss England contest, said: “It would have been polite for Richard to invite Miss England, seeing as he has used Miss England for publicity purposes before.”
A spokesman for Virgin was not immediately available for comment.