I feared for friends caught up in chaos, says Rose of Tralee
ROSE of Tralee Clare Kambamettu yesterday told how she feared for her friends as as she watched graphic television images of the violent street riots in London where she lived for over four years.
Ms Kambamettu, who successfully represented London at last year's festival in Kerry, lived and worked in Clapham until last August when she quit her job as a researcher in the prestigious King's College to enable her to concentrate on her Rose duties.
"It is really shocking to see the footage of the devastation over here. It is such familiar territory to me -- it was my home and it is an area where many of my friends are living," said the 27-year-old psychologist.
"It's dreadful to see the rioting happening on such a large scale. You see this sort of thing occurring in other countries and you think how awful it is but when you see it happening in an area you are so familiar with it is just unreal."
Ms Kambamettu said she has been in regular contact with a former boyfriend who is originally from Dublin but living in London.
She added: "I spoke to him this morning and he said much of the area around where he is living is badly damaged. It's really frightening.
"We're still good friends. There were a lot of things that changed during the past year but our parting had nothing to do with the Rose. Relationships come to an end all the time I suppose."
Although born in Leeds, Ms Kambamettu and her family moved to Kildare when she was eight.
She has been living in Athy, Co Kildare, for the past year to help as she fulfils her Rose of Tralee duties.