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Thursday 14 December 2017

Hail Mary as Scots beauty takes title

Eoin McGarvey

Jemma Ferry wanted to be a Mary since she was a little girl.

And the 22-year-old from Edinburgh was crowned the 43rd Mary from Dungloe in Donegal at the weekend.

She had the support of the added expertise of her father, who has been involved in selecting the Edinburgh representative for the festival for 25 years.

Paddy Ferry said: "I'm really delighted. I thought she was a wonderful Edinburgh Mary all week and we're all proud of her.

"This makes it extra special. Year after year we had an Edinburgh Mary at the festival and after 25 years having my own daughter win the title is really so special," he added.

Jemma said: "It's been a fabulous week and a great festival. I still can't believe it. I've been coming to the festival since I was a little girl and always wanted to be a Mary.

"To wear the Edinburgh sash and to be crowned the winner is just fab."

She was presented with the festival medallion, €1,000 in cash, Newbridge jewellery, Galway crystal and other prizes.

Her escort for the weekend was Dublin-based Garda Tommy Byrne who said she was a winner from the start. "She is a lovely girl and I'm not at all surprised she took the title," he said.

Singer Daniel O'Donnell was in the audience, cheering on his niece Mags O'Donnell, who represented Dublin. He joined Jemma on stage to congratulate her.

This year's Little Miss Mary from Dungloe, Lara O'Donnell (8), from Burtonport, Co Donegal, was also on stage to greet the winner. Lara is the second in her family to take the title -- her sister Aoife won it in 2000.

Irish Independent

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