Therese Gillespie BELFAST
Therese Gillespie Collins became Rose of Tralee in 1965, representing Belfast
When I became Rose of Tralee part of my prize was a coast to coast trip of the USA, travelling to New York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. While visiting these cities, I judged local Rose selections and did radio and TV interviews promoting the Rose of Tralee, and indeed, all of Ireland.
At the time I was a Dental Nurse, then became a social columnist with the former Sunday Press, then joined 3M Company as a Sales Co-ordinator in 1969, covering the 32 counties. I stayed there until I married Tralee man, Tim Collins, in 1970.
Tim and myself have three daughters, Paula, Maeve and Emma and now have three grandchildren, Darragh, Ellen and Aoife.
Becoming Rose of Tralee and representing my home city of Belfast involved meeting people from all sides of the religious and political divide. Everyone was genuinely delighted to have the first Ulster Rose of Tralee and invited me to various functions.
When I came to live in Tralee in 1970, I was welcomed everywhere with open arms and I am still reminded constantly of my achievement. I proudly boast that I have NEVER missed the Rose of Tralee since 1965.
I was founder President of Tralee Fáilte Ladies Probus Club 2001/2002 and in this capacity when the All-Ireland Probus Rally was held in Tralee in 2002, I was chosen to be lady-in-waiting to President Mary McAleese, guest of honour, who addressed the rally.
I presently work as a part-time Social Care Worker, doing weekend residential care with St John of God Services in Tralee.