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Time for Roses to bloom

2018 London Rose Grainne Hawkes hands over the sash to current London Rose Laura Kennedy.

By David Hennessy

If you want to be the next London Rose, you can attend an upcoming London Rose Centre Q and A mixer at Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill on 10 February. This will be a chance to ask some questions of current and former roses and get more information on entering the process.

Current London Rose Laura Kennedy told The Irish World what she would say to any lady who wants to become a rose: “Go for it. Going for the London Rose is a great opportunity to make friends for life but also, you just don’t know what will come out of it so it’s really one of those moments that can change your life. That’s how I feel about this past year. It’s been the most incredible experience. The mixer is a great opportunity to hear any questions that people have, we can answer them.

“I’ve had an incredible year and I have really tried to make the most out of the opportunities and getting out there in the London Irish community. I really hope I’ve been able to live up to the role. There’s definitely a sense of reflection going back over the incredible experience that I have had but I am so excited that somebody else gets to do all this next year. No doubt our next London Rose will be an incredible individual, incredible woman who will represent London really well.”

Laura, from Glenville in Cork, had always wanted to be a rose: “It’s just something I’ve always wanted to apply for. I went to the Dome in Tralee in 2010 and I remember looking up at the Roses then and thinking, ‘Wow’. I just really thought that they were role models and people to look up and aspire to be like. I thought, ‘If I could be one of those, how incredible would that be?”

“Before I went for it, loads of people told me, ‘You’re going to have the best time, it’s the best’. There was this hype about it. I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ Talking to you now about it, I’m grinning. The friends that I’ve made, the full group is like a unit now and literally almost like a new family I’ve been welcomed into. It’s amazing.”

Laura is a Young Leader with the Ireland Fund of Great Britain and Chairperson of the London Irish Graduate Network. She also does work with the Make a Wish Foundation.

Remembering the moment that her name was announced as the London Rose for 2019, Laura says: “It was completely surreal and I think I sat there frozen for about a minute. I really was surprised and really was not expecting to be selected. It was å great moment and I’ll never forget it.

The London Rose Centre Q and A mixer takes place at 7.30pm in the Swallow Rooms at Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill on 10 February.

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