Essex cutest babies crowned in competition
THESE cheeky smiles won the hearts of Essex Chronicle readers to be voted the winners of our Baby of the Year competition.
Readers from both the Essex Chronicle and our sister paper the Brentwood Gazette voted in their hundreds to find the top three bonniest babies in the county.
Two-year-old Lola Marshall, of Takeley, near Dunmow, won the two to five years category, for the second year running.
Her mum, Hayley Rawling, 37, said: "She won it last year as well, so we thought we would give it another go.
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"To be honest, we thought she hadn't won because there was a lot more competition this year, so we were absolutely ecstatic when we found out."
Lola's dad, Edward Marshall, 35, added: "We sent out a group text to ask people to vote because we think she's gorgeous – obviously everyone else did too."
Winner of the 13-24-months category was Halle Rose Purves.
The 17-month-old, of Chelmer Village, was entered by her dad, Chris Purves, 28, and mum, Kayleigh Sharp, 26.
Kayleigh said: "We entered her because we think she's gorgeous. Ever since she was born, everyone has stopped us and commented about it, saying they think she should be on TV.
"We messaged around all our family and friends to get them to vote and when we showed her the paper she pointed herself out straight away, but she was really miserable when she had the photo taken. We were using chocolate and everything as a bribe."
But the overall winner – and winner of the 8-12 month category – was Layla Bush, who was following in her big sister's footsteps to be crowned the Chronicle's Baby of the Year.
Her mum, Emily Morley, 23, who lives with her partner Daniel Bush, 24, in Ongar, said: "We entered Layla's sister, Ellie-Mae, into the competition in 2010 and she won, so we thought we should enter Layla. She's just so cute."
Emily was shocked when she found out that her youngest had also been voted the overall winner.
"I was over the moon when I was told she had won, I really didn't expect it. What are the chances of Ellie-Mae winning and Layla both winning? It must be the genes!"
She added: "Layla's taking after her big sister – she loves the camera and is a right little show off."
All three winners of the competition won a framed photograph of their baby and a day pass to Legoland Windsor for a family of four.