Our Nicole rose of the south

PICTURE PERFECT: Southland's Rose of Tralee Nicole Gourley (left) with last year's national winner, Lisa Monaghan.
ASHLEY McKENZIE/Southland Times
PICTURE PERFECT: Southland's Rose of Tralee Nicole Gourley (left) with last year's national winner, Lisa Monaghan.

Irish eyes are smiling on an Invercargill woman who has claimed this years' title of Southland's Rose of Tralee.

Nicole Gourley picked up the prize at an awards ceremony at the Kelvin Hotel on Saturday night, beating two other contestants.

Miss Gourley, who works as a photographer at The Southland Times, said it was thrilling to become the 2010 Rose.

"It's an honour for me, having a lot of Irish ancestry. It has made me and my family very proud."

The competition included flower arranging, a visit to Calvary Hospital for afternoon tea with the residents and an interview process in front of the judges, she said.

But it was no easy task to win against first-class competitors, she said. "Both would have been equally as good," she said.

Miss Gourley will now go on to compete in the national competition to be held in Invercargill during Queen's Birthday Weekend next month. She has a tough act to follow, with Invercargill woman Lisa Monaghan winning the national title last year.

sam.mcknight@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times