The event at Dogs Trust’s Rehoming Centre in Ballymena marked Rose’s 29 years of service and celebrated her appointment as Honorary Vice President with a tree planted at the edge of a woodland walk named McIlrath Woods.
Many of Miss McIlrath’s colleagues, both past and present, were in attendance, including the charity’s interim CEO Jim Monteith, Trustee and former Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin CBE and Vice Chairman, Philip Daubeny.
Guests were treated to a special lunch and a tour of the rehoming centre and its grounds.
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Jim Monteith said: “Rose has been a true friend and valued colleague over the years; always there to help, advise and advocate on all things canine. Although Rose is retiring, she will be staying on with us as an Honorary Vice President and we are incredibly grateful to her for this and everything she has done to support us over the last 29 years.
“The tree we planted in honour of Rose, a Rowan Sorbus Aucuparia, was chosen because, very much like Rose, it is resilient, long-lived and has a sacred history. We are sure the tree will flourish in the same way Rose has over the years”
Rose McIlrath said: “The charity has grown so much in my time as trustee and I am so proud to have been a part of that success. Although it is sad to be retiring, it is also a happy occasion as I will have more time to come and visit the staff and dogs at the rehoming centres, which is something I love to do.”
Miss McIlrath has been a passionate animal lover her whole life. She spent many years as a veterinary professional and in her 29 years as a trustee for Dogs Trust, has represented the charity throughout the UK and internationally.
In February this year she was presented with the Dogs Trust Argus Medal, awarded in recognition of long and distinguished service by those who have devoted a great part of their lives to the cause of dogs.