DETERMINED schoolgirl Eryn Fryar aims to put East Renfrewshire on the map by becoming an international beauty queen...and is using a lost loved one as her inspiration.

Eryn was left devastated when her half-sister Robyn was killed in a hit-and-run incident two years ago.

Much-loved Robyn is never far from 11-year-old Eryn’s thoughts as she takes centre stage at beauty pageants...and even has an influence on the outfits she chooses.

Fern Maxwell, Eryn’s aunt, told the Barrhead News: “Robyn would be so proud of Eryn.

“At every pageant she has done, she has always made sure that one of her dresses is Robyn’s favourite colour – baby blue.”

Eryn, who is a first year pupil at St Luke’s High School, in Barrhead, first took an interest in beauty contests when Fern was competing and winning titles.

Eryn Fryar will be flying the flag for East Renfrewshire at a global beauty pageant in Paris next yearEleven-year-old Eryn with her proud aunt Fern Maxwell

However, after the shock caused by Robyn’s death, it took some persuading to get her on stage.

Neilston woman Fern, 28, said: “A few years ago, Eryn watched me do beauty pageants and she was lacking a wee bit of confidence, so I suggested taking part in them, but then her sister passed away.

“They were close. It was a big shock to the system. Eryn just completely shut down and didn’t want to talk to anyone.

“I spoke to her and I was like ‘I think Robyn would really want you to do it and to see you go on and be confident’ – so she decided she was going to go for it.”

Robyn, 15, who shared dad Iain with Eryn, was out in Paisley with friends to celebrate completing her school exams for the year when she was struck by speeding motorist Shaun Gatti as she crossed Glenburn Road on July 7, 2019.

She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, in Glasgow, but died a short time later.

Last year, Gatti was sentenced to five years and three months in prison after earlier admitting he caused Robyn’s death by dangerous driving.

Eryn Fryar will be flying the flag for East Renfrewshire at a global beauty pageant in Paris next yearMuch-loved Robyn Fryar was just 15 when she was tragically killed in a hit-and-run

Competing in beauty pageants has helped Neilston girl Eryn find a way forward after the tragic loss of her half-sister.

Last month in Glasgow, she was crowned Junior FOEW (Face of Europe and the World) Scotland, securing a spot in the upcoming final for her age category.

The event, to be held in Disneyland Paris next May, will see Eryn compete with girls from across the world.

If she wins, she will follow in the footsteps of Fern, who previously won the Face of Scotland and Face of the Globe titles.

Fern, who has been involved in pageants for 12 years and now takes a more backstage role, said: “Eryn is nervous because it is a big thing and it will be the first international pageant she has been to but she is really excited to meet the others who will be taking part.

“I met girls from America and Australia who I’m still really close to, so I know she’ll get the exact same experience from the event and, hopefully, she will bring back the crown, like I did.”

Eryn Fryar will be flying the flag for East Renfrewshire at a global beauty pageant in Paris next yearEryn wears blue as a tribute to Robyn

The Scottish heat involved taking part in a fashion-wear round and then a second round, also on stage, wearing an evening gown to show posture, poise and elegance.

During the day, there was also an interview, with Eryn telling judges about herself and what she thinks a good role model should be.

Fern, whose sister, Laura McGrath, is Eryn’s mum, said: “Next year we’ll go to Disney for the big one, where she will have to do all this again but ten times bigger. 

“When they go on an international stage, they have to speak in front of thousands of people. She’ll do an interview and an on-stage question-and-answer session without knowing beforehand which questions she is going to get.

“She will also give a minute-long speech to tell everybody in the audience what she has done for charity and the community.”

A willingness to help good causes and others is a big part of the pageant process and Eryn has already raised £300 for brain injury charity Headway and the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation, which helps sick children and their siblings enjoy memorable experiences.

To coin in cash, she has hosted bake sales and a Fifa computer game tournament, involving her two older brothers and their friends.

Eryn Fryar will be flying the flag for East Renfrewshire at a global beauty pageant in Paris next yearFern has won a number of beauty titles

Fern added: “She’ll be going into the care home just down the road in Neilston over the next few weeks to hand in toiletries, so she’s been raising money to buy those, and she also hopes to go to the police station and fire station to hand in chocolates.

“She has a ladies night organised for next year and is also going to do a catwalk experience for girls around Barrhead and Neilston, which I’ll be helping her with.

“It’s just to let them feel like a princess for a day and give them confidence.

“Doing pageants has shown Eryn this is actually a really good thing and she now wants to show other girls they can do it too.”

Laura has also told of her great pride at Eryn’s determination.

She said: “Eryn competed back in 2019 and missed out on winning the title then and had to work hard for the 2020 pageant but lockdown happened and she then had to work extra hard this year.

“Since winning the title, she has been thriving. She is so excited to continue her charity work before heading to the international event in May.”