Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

It’s all coming up roses for Tralee fan escort winner

Tralee bound — Belfast Rose, Frances Rafferty and international escort Gareth McGreevy

Queen's University Student President Gareth McGreevy has been picked as an escort for the Rose of Tralee festival.

Gareth will be the Belfast Centre escort having made it past both the Belfast Escort selection and Escort Bootcamp in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway last month where, among other things, he had to overcome his fear of water for a kayaking task.

It’s going to be a big year for the city in the global phenomenon that the pageant has become with the Belfast Rose, Frances Rafferty, through to the final later this month. Frances (25), teaches PE in Carrickfergus and has just completed her Masters at Queens.

Gareth, who will find out which Rose he is escorting on August 19, says he has long dreamt of taking part. “The Rose of Tralee is something I have grown up with in our house and we watched it every year without fail. I had always wanted to be one of those escorts and this year, thanks to my friend Susan, I went for it.”

While acting as Student President for nearly 24,000 students, Gareth has managed to fit in a bit of fundraising for the event. “One of the most admirable things about the Rose of Tralee is that it isn’t just about the festival in Tralee. You get to put something back into your community and benefit others who need help. This year the Escort selected charity is Turning the Tide of Suicide.

“Suicide is a major problem in Northern Ireland which sees us ranked as one of the highest rates in Europe. It is especially poignant for me as the suicide rate is especially high amongst young males who are in the low 20 age bracket — those who are at the age of attending University.”

A Law graduate, Gareth also harbours ambitions to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest.

A man of multiple talents, he has directed several shows and plays and teaches many instruments. He has won several Scór titles and runs his own magazine, The Verdict, which won Society Publication of the Year.

He is hosting a coffee morning on Friday, August 6 in The Great Hall, Queen’s University Belfast from 10-11.30am to raise money for the charity and everyone is welcome.

Any donations for the charity can also be sent to Student President, Queen’s Students’ Union, University Road, Belfast or people can donate online at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/gareth_mcgreevys_event/

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