She may have been pipped to the post to win Big Brother, but 18-year-old Derry girl Ashleigh Coyle has said the overwhelming support of the public means more to her than winning the title.
The teenage model tweeted to her 25,000 followers on Saturday: “I’m overwhelmed with all of your support & it genuinely means more to me than taking away the winning title, thanks so much x #teamashleigh”.
Speaking after the Big Brother final Ashleigh said she had never expected to get so far in the competition.
“When I first came over to the show I thought I would be gone by week three - but I didn’t get put up for eviction until week five. And I thought I would be gone then...”
Ashleigh admits that she and Helen Wood, who went on to win the show, will “never be best buddies”.
She added that the experience would have been less tense had Helen been evicted.
However she did say she was “delighted” for her former housemate and hoped that she spent her winnings wisely.
The former Miss Derry had a great deal of public support during her time in the Big Brother house.
And indeed questions have been asked on social media following Friday night’s final about difficulties in getting through the text lines to vote in her favour.
A petition is circulating online asking for an Ofcom investigation of the votes. It was reported yesterday that there were only 1000 votes between the Derry queen and Helen.
But for Ashleigh it was a quick return home to Derry where she attended a welcome home party on Sunday evening at Karma.
Social media was flooded with messages of support for the Derry teen. On our Facebook page Ann Moore wrote: “Ashleigh doesn’t need to win Big Brother. She will be successful in whatever she decides to do.”
Paula Coyle wrote: “Ashleigh is the real winner she stood up for herself an got to the final herself which makes her the worthy winner.”
Ann-Marie McCloskey added: “Ashleigh did Derry proud she’s a lovely girl.”
Ashleigh’s friends and family couldn’t hide their delight at her return home too. Long term friend Joe Carlin tweeted: “Tonight I welcome back my friend, model & TV heart-stealer .
@ashleighcoyle22 to her hometown. Champagne on ice darling.”
While Ashleigh’s boyfriend Sean Hutton tweeted: “Finally back home in Derry after an amazing time in London. Happiest man in the world to have my missus back by my side! She’s our winner!”