A MOTHER-OF-FOUR had a night to remember as a makeover project reached its glamorous conclusion last night.
As Phyllis Samuel descended the grand staircase at Rockliffe Hall Hotel, near Darlington, dressed in the best that money can buy, she was applauded by family, friends and representatives from 18 North-East businesses which had helped in her transformation.
The unique Dream Image North East project was more than three years in the making.
After being nominated by the public as a worthy candidate to undergo a free makeover worth thousands of pounds, the 52-year-old, from Stockon, attended countless private medical and dental appointments.
The competition was dreamt up by a group of entrepreneurs in the region who wanted to show that the North-East could equal anything on offer in London.
It resulted in a band of businesses, ranging from a cosmetic dentist and a plastic surgeon to a hairdresser and photographer, coming together to offer the right person a mega-makeover worth a small fortune.
Through The Northern Echo, the Dream Image North East team invited members of the public to nominate worthy candidates.
Mrs Samuel - who was nominated by her daughter, Rebecca, was shortlisted and went on to win the competition.
The judges were impressed at how she had overcome adversity - including being brought up in care homes and surviving two bouts of cancer - to successfully bring up three children on her own.
Mrs Samuel, who is also the full time carer for her mother and brother, said: "I cannot put into words what this means to me and I know this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I want to enjoy all of it."
Linda Heads, co-ordinator of Dream Image and wife of cosmetic dentist, Mike Heads, said the winner had shown "tremendous commitment" to the project.
She added: "She has had to attend numerous medical and dental appointments together with an exercise and healthy eating regime. All of this fitted around her very busy caring schedule at home."
For further information visit dreamimagenortheast.co.uk