Warwick Masters student Gemma Hughes has been chosen to represent Coventry in the 2008 Rose of Tralee festival in Dublin on Sunday 24th August.
Gemma, who is studying for an MA in Marketing and Strategy, is from Warwickshire, but her parents are from Ireland making her eligible to enter into the Rose of Tralee competition.
Her remarkable journey started when she wowed the judges at the Christ the King Centre in Coventry by singing an Irish love ballad. She then went on to win a national heat in Liverpool earlier this year.
The Rose of Tralee festival started in 1959 as an incentive to encourage more tourists into the area. Since then it has grown into an international carnival, with the past winners being from places as far flung as New Zealand and America.
Physical beauty is certainly one of the components in the competition, but the judges are also looking for qualities that reflect the lyrics of the famous Irish ballad by William Mulchinock:
"She was as lovely and fair as the rose of the summer
Yet t’was not her beauty alone that won me
Oh no t’was the truth in her eyes ever dawning
That made me love Mary the Rose of Tralee"
Gemma told the Coventry Telegraph: “It’s very different from other competitions, it’s not so much a beauty pageant as a way of representing Ireland, its culture and beauty.”
“It will be great to put Coventry on the map” she added “Hopefully more girls from the city will be encouraged to take part next year, especially because we have such a strong Irish community here.”
The winner of the competition will spend a year on tour raising money for their chosen charity.
- Visit the official Rose of Tralee website