There was sadness and joy in equal measure for two talented women from the district who took part in the finals of two reality television shows this week.
Heather Jacks was crowned the winner of BBC2 show The Great British Sewing Bee on Tuesday while Sally Barker finished runner up of BBC1’s The Voice.
Heather, of Willoughby Waterleys, has had to keep the victory secret since October and was hugely relieved that the cat was finally out of the bag.
She watched Tuesday’s show with her husband Andrew and a group of 12 friends.
Heather blew the judges socks’ off with her couture dress in the final challenge that Heather explained was inspired by Vivienne Westwood and Valentino Garavani.
She said: “I knew that if I could get that far into the finals then I would stand a good chance as my sewing is much more towards the couture.”
Heather said that she designed the stunning dress, that was modelled by her best friend on the show, in just ten minutes.
In the first task Heather came second with the silk tie she made. Although the judges said the garment was “not bad at all” they were critical of the stitching as they felt it was untidy.
In the second round Heather had to transform a bridal gown into a bridesmaid dress and was again ranked as runner-up.
The judges said Heather and fellow contestant Tamara were neck and neck going into the final challenge, but that anyone could still take the trophy home.
But on the day, it was Heather who took it, turning the judges’ heads with her stunning corset gown. Judge Patrick Grant said: “Heather has been quietly biding her time, but this week she pushed the boat out.
“We wanted something worthy of the name couture and that final dress was the epitome of that.”
Meanwhile, Lutterworth’s Sally Barker, initially one of the bookies’ favourites to win The Voice, fell at the final hurdle in Saturday’s denouement.
But she was gracious in defeat and remains upbeat about the future and the opportunities the show has presented.
Sally was beaming when Jermain Jackman’s name was read out as the winner and she congratulated him wholeheartedly.
Sally performed three songs on the night. One was a duet with her mentor Sir Tom Jones, where they performed Walking in Memphis.
Sally said: “My husband bought the album and Walking in Memphis was one of his favourite songs of all time.”
She was taken to a chapel by Sir Tom where he had once performed himself and where Sally then got the chance to try out her performance prior to her appearing in the final.
Sally’s first song was Joni Mitchell’s From Both Sides Now.
She said that despite her calm exterior she was feeling nervous inside.
The judges delivered fantastic feedback.
Ricky Wilson, frontman of the Kaiser Chiefs, said: “It is extraordinary. I hope everyone that voted for her puts their money where their mouth is and goes to see her and buys her records.”
Will-i-am said the performance was magical and that it reminded him of a moment in a Disney film where Cinderella finds her love.
Sally was given a choice of what song from the series she would most like to perform.
She chose Dear Darlin’ by Olly Murs, a song that she said was out of her comfort zone.
During the programme, Sally was shown returning to Lutterworth to see her family and friends who toasted with Champagne and offered her messages of support.