22nd November 1974
Jersey sends its first contestant to Miss World
Jersey and Guernsey each entered the Miss World beauty pageant for the first time in 1974. Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where it was hosted by Michael Aspel and David Vine, the event was viewed by an estimated audience of 30 million.
Introduced to viewers and the audience in the hall with the words, “another new country like near neighbours Guernsey, Jersey [is] in it for the first time with miss Christine Sangan, who’s twenty-three.”
Christine came onto the stage wearing a lace apron and headscarf, and carrying a copper milk jug, much like Gina Atkinson from Guernsey had done a few minutes earlier. Unfortunately, that was the beginning and end of both the Channel Islands entrants’ participation in the international final, as the nine judges had already whittled the 58 participants down to 15 finalists, which included neither Jersey nor Guernsey.
The judging panel of nine, only three of whom were women, included former prime minister Churchill’s distant cousin John Spencer-Churchill, the high commissioner for Malta, and singer Shirley Bassey. It was chaired by Eric Morley.
The United Kingdom triumphs
By the end of the night, the United Kingdom’s Helen Morgan had been crowned the winner. However, times being what they were, she resigned just four days later when the possibility arose that she may be named in a divorce case. As the Birmingham Post reported on 27 November, “Eric Morley, head of Mecca, the organisers… said early today: ‘Miss World has resigned on the telephone. We have asked her to come and see us tomorrow. She mentions there is a possibility of a divorce case and she thinks in the circumstances she should resign.’ Mr Morley added: ‘I want to make it perfectly clear that this decision on her part has absolutely nothing to do with her baby’.” Morgan was a single mother, which had been a point of media interest at the time.
Following her resignation, the title of Miss World passed to South Africa’s Anneline Kriel who had been runner up in the contest.
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