By Annamay McNally
THE reigning Tyrone Rose has told how she was “honoured” to be able to return to her former primary school in Dungannon, accompanied by the Rose of Tralee, to meet teachers and pupils as part of a special visit to the town.
Stunning Catherine Sherry, who is herself training to be a school teacher, also revealed how she has mixed emotions about handing over her Tyrone Rose sash at the beginning of April after a whirlwind year of public engagements.
The Dungannon girl, a former pupil of St Patrick’s PS, will join her fellow Roses to take part in the St Patrick’s Day Parade along New York’s Fifth Avenue next month in what she describes as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
Catherine and Rose of Tralee, Nicola McEvoy, visited St Patrick’s PS in Dungannon on Wednesday.
The pretty pair also met students and teachers at Holy Trinity PS in Cookstown, took a boat trip along Lough Neagh and visited the Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon, where they were greeted by Mayor, Cllr Phelim Gildernew, before enjoying a well deserved spa afternoon in Ballygawley.
Speaking to the TIMES, Catherine explained this was Nicola McEvoy’s first time in Tyrone.
“This was a real trip down memory lane for me”, said Catherine.
“It was a real honour to be able to return to my old primary school with my Tyrone Rose sash and meet Mrs Hampsey and all my former teachers and of course the children.
“Never did I think I would be visiting my old school as the Tyrone Rose.”
On the impending handing over of her beloved Tyrone Rose sash, Catherine said: “It’s a touchy subject! It will be bittersweet for me, but I will be delighted to see who the new ambassador for Tyrone will be.
“I have some brilliant memories from my year as Tyrone Rose, from the places I have visited to the people I have met. And of course it was great to meet up with Nicola again as we became great friends during the competition last year.
“It is a great opportunity for any girls out there who would like to become the next Tyrone Rose or indeed Rose of Tralee. I always read about the competition and thought I would like to take part and it really is something which you will remember for the rest of your life.”
Nicola McEvoy, said: “The search to find the next Rose in each of the nine counties of Ulster is now underway and anyone who enters a Rose selection will never regret the experience of a lifetime in which they will make life-long friends and have the best fun along the way. Becoming the Rose of Tralee was a huge added bonus to what can only be described as the most exciting year of my life.”
Newbridge Silverware, the lead sponsors of the Festival, will present the next Rose of Tralee with a range of handcrafted jewellery and homeware products.
She will also receive a World Travel Prize worth €25,000 from Dublin Airport Authority, a year’s driving in a brand new car and much more.
This year’s Tyrone Rose of Tralee selection is on 3 April in the Greenvale Hotel, Cookstown, and the committee are calling for potential Roses out there to get involved.
Entry forms and full details of how to enter the Tyrone Rose are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting Colin on 07789 758358, but time is running out so get in contact as soon as possible to become part of the Amazing Rose of Tralee family.