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'I was over the moon when I won... especially as we didn't win a bet all day'

Published 07/04/2016

Prize winner: Yvonne McAvoy in her stunning emerald dress
Prize winner: Yvonne McAvoy in her stunning emerald dress
High fashion: Yvonne with Vogue Williams after her victory
Proud family: winner Yvonne with husband Patrick and children

And also lifting the fashion crown for the province at Cheltenham this year was mum-of-four from Dungannon, Yvonne McAvoy (41).

She also went for green and got everyone's attention in her stunning silk gown from The Boudoir at the Linen Green.

Yvonne was a last minute substitute for the races as her 48-year-old husband Patrick's brothers couldn't make it - so she was drafted it to accompany him at the corporate event.

"I knew the theme was 'Colour Me March', so I went for a bright green dress from The Boudoir. I was surprised when we arrived at the races as I kept getting comments on my dress. I knew it stood out from the crowd but I was over the moon when I won. Especially as we didn't win a bet all day," she jokes.

But she did walk away with £10,000 worth of prizes including a diamond necklace, designer handbag, an afternoon at AP McCoy's wife's boutique, £1,000 worth of vouchers for House of Fraser, a leather skirt, custom made riding boots and a hat.

"I am completely blown away by the prizes and so are the kids, James (11), John (9), Martha (3) and Peter (16 months)."

Yvonne admits she loves to shop and, at times, it's her guilty pleasure.

"I do love my clothes and if I am stressed or need some time away from work I will hit the shops," she explains, adding that she likes to shop locally.

"We really have so much choice and style here. I was delighted that Northern Ireland was selected as the style winner at Cheltenham. Everyone was asking me where I got my dress from and wanting to find out more about the shops here.

"There is a real buzz about fashion here at the minute. And thanks to the internet, people from all over can shop in our boutiques."

However, life is far from days spent shopping for this busy working mum who is the director of four nursing homes in the Sanville Group, which she runs with her four sisters.

"We run the business as a family, but when it comes to family time no shop talk is allowed - it's a rule."

Outside work and family, Yvonne is involved in the local hunt club and attends events at weekends. She also keeps horses.

"Life is super busy but I am a very organised person. The children have very busy lives, too, so there is a lot of running back and forth to be done but, thankfully, Patrick is very hands on. He runs his own construction company, so we balance the children between us and make it work. I am very lucky.

"I work long hours and often there is paperwork to be done after the children go to bed, so I like to make family time count.

"We love to travel and when I am away, I do shut off and concentrate on the children."

Yvonne says she owes her trim figure to weekly sessions with a personal trainer as well as yoga and pilates.

"Nothing, however, is as good as the work-out of looking after and running about after four children," she jokes.

Belfast Telegraph

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