Daniella Ybarra, the Texas Rose of Tralee, with her escort Paddy HoganIrish Independent

A hotel worked who helped save a guest’s life is safe-guarding an American contestant at the Rose of Tralee extravaganza in Kerry.

Paddy Hogan, manager at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise, recently used a defibrillator to save an elderly guest who had technically ‘died’ after a heart attack.

Matters of the heart are more the norm for some of the contestants at the Rose of Tralee festival this week with Paddy escorting the Texas Rose Danielle Ybarra.

“Paddy is a hero and when I heard he had saved someone’s life, I said it would be great to get him,” Danielle told the Irish Independent.

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“He really is the perfect escort for me, and because he’d know what to do in a high-stress situation I feel very relaxed and comfortable with him and I really do feel that I have the best escort.”

Paddy and his fellow escorts walked a mile through Tralee in high heels on Sunday to help promote and raise funds for the Kerry Rape and Sexual Assault Centre.

“It’s called ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ and the idea originated in America as a way of involving more men in the whole area of campaigning against sexual violence,” said centre director Vera O’Leary.

Philadelphia Rose Beth Keeley will lead the way at rehearsals for the live TV show on Monday and is delighted to be first on.

“The adrenaline just gets to you, and rather than stand backstage waiting, I get to go up there and set the ball rolling,” said Beth said.

Queensland Rose Tara Talbot, at odds of just five-to-two, is favorite to be crowned the 53rd Rose of Tralee.