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VIDEO: London Rose prepares for Tralee with fundraising quiz

By David Hennessy

The London Rose of Tralee Hayley Reynolds took another important step on her journey to Tralee with a fundraising quiz at the Claddagh Ring recently.

The event raised a total of £1,400 on the night.

Hayley Reynolds, 2022 London Rose of Tralee, said: “I am absolutely blown away by the turn out at this weekend’s Big Rosey Quiz. I am so grateful to my friends, family and colleagues who came to the Claddagh Ring to support this big event. I have already had some amazing feedback about the atmosphere on the night and the joy people felt being able to get together again as a community. I’d like to thank the Claddagh Ring for supporting this event and helping me host such an important fundraiser. Thank you to our supporters and sponsors, this event wouldn’t have been possible with out you. And finally, thank you to my community and all the well-wishers, I cannot wait to do you proud in Tralee.”

Proceeds from the fundraiser go towards helping cover the costs of Hayley’s journey to Tralee this coming August for the festival.

Hayley told The Irish World after the event: “Tonight has been absolutely amazing.

“I’m so grateful to everybody that came down.

“We’ve had a really good evening, and it (Tralee) feels more real now that we’re getting closer to it. It’s only a couple of weeks away.”

Hayley was selected as the London Rose at the Clayton Crown Hotel in Cricklewood in June.

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“It’s still surreal.

“I’m still very overwhelmed.

Haylye with the Rose of London committee Noel O’Sullivan and Sinead Dineen.

“You don’t actually feel like it is real and I don’t think that will hit until we get to Tralee.

“I’m just riding the waves of emotions.

“It’s really been a fantastic couple of weeks.”

Asked about the best part of being the London Rose, Hayley said: “It is the amount of support you get and the amount of people who come up to you.

“They’re just intrigued or they know people that have gone through it before, or they just want to know about you.

“I think that’s just such a great aspect of it. And being able to be like, ‘Yeah, this is me, but also we’re doing this for this cause’.

“Tonight doing it for the charity has been absolutely amazing.

“Completely honoured to have this title and it’s gonna be amazing.”

Hayley with her family.

Hayley selected the youth mental health charity, the Mix, as her partner charity for the fundraiser with 50% of the proceeds going to help them support their young service users.

“I really honestly feel like it (mental health)’s such an important part of anything right now because we can all go and we can pay for a counsellor if we wanted to, or a therapist, but those young people can’t.

“And with COVID and social media and everything that’s going on in the world, it’s hard for older people but it’s also such a struggle for young people who are finding themselves.

“So this is just a way that they can speak to a counsellor on whatsapp on text or email on call whatever they feel comfortable with.

“I just really think it’s an important charity.”

Born in London before she moved to St. Alban’s, Hayley’s father hails from Strokestown, Co. Roscommon while her maternal grandparents come from Castlemarket, Co. Kilkenny and Mohill, Co. Leitrim.

“I’ve always been an Irish Londoner, always.

“I was born in Cricklewood.

“I grew up there for a couple of years.

“Being an Irish Londoner, it’s just something that I’ve always learned about.

Hayley with Finbar Holian of The Claddagh Ring.

“I’ve never not known about my Irish culture or heritage.

“I’ve always been brought up to come to mass and come to the Claddagh and come to all these events with so many Irish people that you forget that you are in England in a way.

“So just to showcase the community that we have built, it’s just incredible and it’s just second to none really.”

Another prize was a session with Hayley who is a personal trainer and plays Gaelic football with St Colmcilles GAC in St. Alban’s.

Asked if the team have been supportive, Hayley answered: “Massively, half the team’s in there now.

“I wouldn’t have even been here today without that team because they’re the ones that reminded me that we could go forward for it and they’ve been so supportive.

“I couldn’t ask for a better team to be with even though I’m not the best player.”

Hayley was sponsored for the Rose of London by her father’s company ECS Group, and she had her family there for support at the quiz.

“It’s great to have their support.

“It’s fantastic. I couldn’t have done half of it without him (dad) and my whole family.

“My mum, my Nana and granddad, they’ve always been there.

“I’m very, very grateful for who I have around me.”

2019 London Rose Laura Kennedy presenting the sash to the 2022 London Rose Hayley Reynolds.

Looking ahead to Tralee, Hayley said: “I can’t wait. I’m actually so excited.

“I want to kind of be there now. I want to enjoy it. I want to meet everybody.

“Yeah, it’s gonna be crazy. It is crazy. Everything is crazy, but I’m excited.”

Asked what she is looking forward to about Tralee, Hayley said: “Literally everything.

“Being able to walk onto a street with crowds of people supporting you- I just think that’s such a surreal moment.

“There are people out there who want somebody to look up to and not saying that is necessarily me, but they’re really looking for that one person.

“And that’s what the whole Rose of Tralee is about, you’re looking for somebody to be able to mirror yourself on and learn stuff from.”

Hayley Reynolds will go on to represent London at the Rose of Tralee festival in August. London has been selected as one of the Rose centres that will go straight to Tralee to participate in the 2022 festival.

The Rose of Tralee International Festival takes place 19-23 August.

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