Express & Star Baby and Toddler of the Year winners revealed

The winners of the Express & Star’s Baby and Toddler of the Year contest have been revealed.

Isabella Carr, front, was the overall the Express & Star Baby and Toddler of the Year winner
Isabella Carr, front, was the overall the Express & Star Baby and Toddler of the Year winner

They have beaten almost 600 others – and been part of a competition in which almost 700,000 votes were cast.

Four youngsters were crowned the winners across the age categories, with their parents receiving £500 each and the overall winner handed an extra £250.

Photo sessions took place at the Mander Centre and at the Churchill Centre in Dudley between July and August.

Special vote tokens were printed each day in the Express & Star from September 11 until October 12, with the winners announced this week.

More than 580 youngsters entered the competition, with 683,000 votes being cast to find the winners and one named Baby of the Year.

Winner for the zero to nine months category Louie Ellis, with mother and father Lynsey and Sean Ellis

Seven-month-old Louie Ellis was named as the winner for the zero to nine months category.

Mother Lynsey Ellis, from Coseley, said: “We’re really happy – we definitely didn’t expect it.

“We did it for a bit of fun really, and we our friends and family all got involved and neighbours too.

“People have always said he’s a very pretty and photogenic and he gets mistaken for a girl often – it’s probably the way we dress him.”

Husband Sean Ellis, 27, said they were saving the winnings until his son can spend it himself.

Winner of the 10 to 18 months category Esme-Rose Marsh, with mother Letitia Lock

Esme-Rose Marsh, aged 15 months, won in the 10 to 18 months category.

Mother Letitia Lock, from Sedgley, said: “We’re very happy and very proud of her.

“I think everyone comments on her big brown eyes and that cheeky smile of hers.

“We’re very happy and proud.”

The money will be placed into a savings account for the youngster’s future.

Winner of the 19 to 35 months category Billy Bushell, with mother Amy Jones and grandmother Gwenny Pitt

Billy Bushell, who has turned three recently, claimed the win in the 19 to 35 months category.

Mother Amy Jones, from Bradmore in Wolverhampton, said: “I was really shocked when we got the email through, but I told friends and family to vote.

“But everyone was giving them to me to send them off and we’ve got a massive family.

“I’m really proud of him – people voted for him because he’s so cheeky.”

Billy said he wanted to spend the money on his nan, 83-year-old Gwyneth Pitt.

Overall winner Isabella Carr

Isabella Carr was named as the winner for the three to five years category – and named the overall winner.

Father Stephen Carr said: “She’s got a big family who helped out and a lot of supportive friends.

“I’m proud of her – it’s really brilliant. You get an enormous amount of pride.

“It’s really big and it’s great. She’s my beautiful girl – she’s adorable.”

All £750 of the winnings will all be spent on the youngster, who wants to save some money.

It marked the second competition following the success of last year’s, which saw more than 200,000 votes cast.

Rob Kelly, head of circulation at the Express & Star, said all the entrants had done “exceptionally well” to make it to the final stage.

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