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Teenager lands dream prize on TV show

PUBLISHED: 09:38 26 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2010

LIKE most teenage girls Sarah Hakeney spent hours daydreaming about what it would be like to be a famous television presenter.

Little did the Hadleigh High School pupil realise that even before she would celebrate her 14th birthday, she would be gracing the small screen in a programme watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers.

LIKE most teenage girls Sarah Hakeney spent hours daydreaming about what it would be like to be a famous television presenter.

Little did the Hadleigh High School pupil realise that even before she would celebrate her 14th birthday, she would be gracing the small screen in a programme watched by hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Sarah, of The Street, Aldham, near Hadleigh, won a national competition to present a slot on a new show about mysteries and legends on children's programme CITV.

The competition asked youngsters to write a short story on a mystery or legend surrounding a particular place.

Sarah decided to write about a bridge in the Isle of Man that her grandfather had told her about when she was younger.

According to superstition, every time somebody walks across the bridge without saying "Hello" to the fairies, an item of their possession will be taken off them during the day.

In her story, entitled The Fairy Bridge, Sarah wrote about a real-life incident in which her grandfather had lost his watch after forgetting to acknowledge the fairies after crossing the bridge.

To her amazement, a letter arrived in the post two weeks ago telling her she had beaten thousands of teenagers across the country to win first prize in the competition.

Sarah said: "I was totally shocked and kept jumping up and down when I found out.

"It's something I've always dreamt about and I entered a competition before to present a DIY programme but I didn't get anywhere.

"I would really love to be a TV presenter and hopefully it could lead to other things."

Sarah, whose TV idol is SMTV Live presenter Cat Deeley, was on a school trip in Germany when the letter arrived at her home.

Her mother, Julia McLeese, had to spend the next few days frantically arranging the trip in her absence. This included applying for a licence from Bow Street Magistrates Court in London to allow her to film because the location was considered abroad.

She also had to arrange an appointment with Sarah's doctor for when she returned from Germany in order to receive a certificate saying she was fit for travel.

But Mrs McLeese said it was worth going through all of the complications to see the smile on her daughter's face.

"The education authority said she might not be able to go if the forms weren't filled in and I couldn't bear the thought of her getting her hopes up to then be dashed," she said.

"I was so relieved when they said she could go."

Sarah is due to fly out to the Isle of Man with her mum on Monday from Luton Airport.

During the day she will be given a script to learn before being filmed by a camera crew on the fairy bridge featured in her story. The mystery series is due to be screened in the New Year.

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