TWO of Melksham’s new carnival royalty will share their amazing life stories at an event in Bath today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday April 12 and 13).

Recently-crowned Melksham Carnival Queen Naomi Jeffries and Carnival Princess Abbie Dark will speak at IGNITE, a two-day live personal development and empowerment event taking place at the Bath Pavilion.

It has been organised by Rebecca Adams, an international business and mindset coach and mentor based in Trowbridge. The guest speakers also include Cllr Cherry Beath, a former mayor of Bath.

Naomi, 21, of Semington Road, Melksham, was invited by Miss Adams to speak for 30 minutes on Saturday about her extremely difficult life.

She said: “One of my earliest memories is of my fifth birthday, spending the day at a neighbour’s house because my mother was in hospital with a brain tumour.

“Because of my mother’s ongoing illness, I bounced between houses, resulting in a rocky education and attending 14 schools across the UK from as far as Exeter to Orkney.

“I finally ended up in York where I continued my education to Leeds University, where I studied theatre and performance.”

Throughout her childhood, Naomi suffered everything from physical and mental abuse to being sexually assaulted. At the age of 13 she walked 26 miles to put herself into care just weeks after her second attempted suicide.

“My love of vintage clothes and antiques and theatre helped me to stand out from the crowd. Whilst others were buying alcohol and hanging out, I was taking dance lessons and singing as a form of escapism and as a way of coping with life.

“This resulted in years of bullying, exclusion and loneliness; however, I have always strived to stay true to myself.”

Because of the traumas she suffered, Naomi’s one goal in life is to help and inspire others to overcome their difficulties no matter how big or small.

She added: “I plan to start my own theatre company to help challenged children to express themselves in a safe and caring environment.” After all, everyone deserves to grow beyond the pots that life puts us in.”

Abbie Dark, 15, from Melksham, was born with a Lymphangioma tumour on her neck and spent the first six months of her life in Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Abbie has had 13 operations, including three major, life-saving surgeries, the last of which was a set of titanium rods inserted into her spine.

She has battled with her own pain, low self-esteem and embarrassment about the shape of her body and her horrendous scars as well as the distress caused when her older bother was in a head on collision with a truck and spent six months in hospital.

She said: “He went from being in a slow recovery coma, through rehabilitation and now has a traumatic brain injury as well as lots of physical disabilities which causes much friction in the home.

“I feel really excited about sharing my story at this amazing event. Becoming Melksham Carnival Princess has given me a platform to speak about the things which I’m passionate about and I’m sure this is the start of big things for IGNITE and the world.”

“I have strived to make a difference in the world by volunteering in many ways. I have a very passionate zest for life and try to encourage others.”