Preston mum swaps coach driving for the catwalk

Beauty pageant: Mrs Preston Galaxy Jill Atherton
Beauty pageant: Mrs Preston Galaxy Jill Atherton
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A glamorous mum-of-three has swapped coach driving for the catwalk, representing Preston in the national final of a beauty pageant for married women.

Jill Atherton is Mrs Preston Galaxy, and hopes to win a place on the international stage in Orlando next year.

The 35-year-old now hopes to put her title to good use by supporting charities across the area.

Jill, a transport manager for a coach hire company, said: “I just think it’s a bit different, and in my opinion it’s every girl’s dream.

“I’m in a very male-dominated industry at work, I have three boys at home and my husband, so I am surrounded by boys everywhere.

“I got to a point where I thought I need to do something feminine and go back to being a girl.”

Jill said she made a bucket list of things she wanted to achieve, which included entering the pageant, and also learning how to box.

She will attend the national finals of the Galaxy pageant at the Park Hall Hotel in Charnock Richard next year.

If she is picked as the winner in the “Mrs” category, she will go on to be one of eight British women representing the UK at the international final in the USA next year.

Before then, Jill wants to use her title to support local charities, including appearing as a special guest at St Catherine’s Hospice Christmas festival.

“Obviously I’d love to win – it would be a dream to go to America,” said Jill, who has been married to husband Peter for 15 years.

“In the meantime I just want to enjoy the experience and help as many different causes as I can in the process, including St Catherine’s Hospice which does such wonderful work for people facing extremely difficult times in our local community.”

Jill will arrive dressed in her Mrs Galaxy sash – compared with previous years when she has driven the shuttle bus for visitors from the park and ride.

The festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, with gift stalls, an ice rink and Santa’s grotto.

Sunday’s event will also feature the hospice’s annual two-mile sponsored Santa Dash and half-mile Rudolph Rumble, starting and finishing from the grounds in Lostock Hall.

Jill, who has three sons, Luke, 13, Matthew, nine and Austin, five, said: “It sounds like it will be a fantastic family event which will really get everyone in the festive spirit.”