'I always feel like Mum's right beside me'
AT JUST 17 years of age and while still in high school, Penne Edwards endured the heart-ache of losing her mother to cancer, but the close-knit Killarney community ensured the pair never battled alone.
Miss Edwards, now 19, is wearing the Killarney Showgirl crown for the second year running and is using the position to return the love and support the community showed her family.
"They would always write letters and give me something to give Mum to put in her room so she wouldn't feel lonely,” Miss Edwards said.
"I know that I can come to anyone in this community and ask for help.
"I love this town so much, they really helped me with a situation that was very hard.”
Miss Edwards' mother, Glennys, always encouraged her to take part in the showgirl contest but it wasn't until after she passed away that the opportunity arose.
After six years without showgirls, Miss Edwards was approached last year to take part.
She hopes her mum is proud of her.
"She wanted me to go into the showgirl for a long time and I always feel like she's right beside me,” she said.
Miss Edwards attended Killarney P-10 State School then graduated from Warwick State High School and now works as a retail assistant at Killarney's Top Shop.
In her spare time she also volunteers at Killarney Memorial Aged Care.
"I've made a lot of friends there,” she said.
"I get to do activities, plan little trips with them and I just get more knowledge from them to see what they want.”
While already a fine young contributor to her community, Miss Edwards hopes to encourage other young women and men to be involved in the Killarney Show.
She said the experience had helped her open up and grow.
"We need a lot of strong women around here, we do already but it's good to have that opportunity for young ladies to show what they can do for our community,” she said.
"I'm honoured to be the showgirl again because I'm definitely going to be encouraging the young ones to get involved.”
Miss Edwards said she enjoyed spending time at the pavilion at the show to see creative work.
"I just love the show so much,” she said.
"It really brings the community together and seeing everyone have a good time with the family.
"It's my turn to help them out.”