A TALENTED balloon twister and face painter has been chosen as a finalist in a prestigious award.

Emma Nettleton, who used to be a financial analyst but ditched the suits and number crunching to take up face painting back in 2018, said she was amazed to learn she has been shortlisted as a finalist in the East of England Event Entertainment Awards.

The 34-year-old, of California Road, Mistley, said she filled out the application for a giggle during lockdown as she had a lot of time on her hands.

She said: “When I received the notification that I made it to the finals I was amazed as I’ve never been nominated for an award before.

“I’d be astounded if I won, there are lots of amazing acts and artists also nominated. I’m happy to just have made it to the finals.

Emma, who runs her own business - called Emma’s Fanciful Faces - said if she would win the award it would help her stand out and give potential clients the reassurance they are dealing with a recognised business.

She added: “When Covid-19 hit I had a full summer of party bookings already booked which then I had to refund which as a small business hit us pretty hard.

“With no sign of when parties would be allowed again it was an incredibly stressful time. Thankfully as we came out of the strict part of lockdown, the balloon gift side of my business really picked up again, which has really helped take the pressure off a difficult few months.

“To receive this nomination now feels extra special, as the Event Entertainment Awards recognises the best in the industry, so to be announced a winner of the award for best Children’s entertainer would mean so much after a difficult few months.”

Half the score is from voting and the remainder from judges. People can vote for Emma by visiting bit.ly/3eIDIy5.

Voting ends on Tuesday.