Local man Patsy Forbes looking forward to be one of the select few to have the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on its journey part of the way around the UK.
Local man Patsy Forbes looking forward to be one of the select few to have the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on its journey part of the way around the UK.

THE events team at Magherafelt District Council are jumping hurdles to make sure the Olympic torch relay’s arrival in Magherafelt on June 7 will leave a lasting legacy.

The planned celebrations are expected to be the biggest participating events ever organised by the Council to mark the once-in-a-lifetime visit of the world-famous flame. The impressive events involve all sectors and all ages of the community, making sure that everyone has an opportunity to be involved.

Magherafelt District Council Chairman Ian Milne said, “We are delighted that the Olympic committee has decided to bring the torch to Magherafelt, the centre of Northern Ireland. This is a one-off opportunity for the people of Magherafelt and surrounding community to take part in celebrations; to see the Olympic flame and witness the spectacle of the Olympic torch relay.

“We are organising several exciting events around the torch relay and are expecting large crowds to get involved by lining the streets and enjoying the atmosphere the events will bring.”

In the build-up to the torch’s arrival, a community carnival parade will take place on June 6 and is expected to attract record crowds.

The carnival will kick off at 6pm and be a celebration of excellence in sport, dance, commerce and music from the Magherafelt area. Groups, charities, schools and businesses from the Council district are dressing up carnival style and the emphasis will be on celebration, colour and visual expression.

Magherafelt’s nominated Olympian Greek gods and goddesses will also form part of the festivities. The sporting champions and heroes have been nominated by the public and will parade in the town with a specially-made Olympic chariot.

On the morning of the torch arrival itself, over 3000 children will take part in a series of visual displays at Meadowbank Sports Arena just before the flame’s arrival. Weather permitting, the children, from 31 local schools will come together to form an Olympic message and then line the streets with members of the public to receive the Olympic flame.

The event will be streamed live via the internet and hosted by local personality and BBC sports presenter, Claire Glancy. The internet program will also be transmitted on a large screen set up in the town centre where audiences can also view good-will messages from local celebrities.

As part of the package of celebratory activities, a collaborative art project is already underway involving all sectors of the community. Schools, community groups and individuals are producing art/graphics to be transferred on to ceramic tiles to decorate an abstract torch shape created by the Northern Regional College. The artwork will express collectively what the Olympic relay event represents to people of the district and, as well as being displayed during the carnival parade, will be later installed as a piece of public art at the new Gre nvale Leisure Centre.

All planned events will ensure that the Olympic torch visit will be one which will be ingrained in the memories of the people of Magherafelt for years to come.

For further information, please contact Michael Browne, Davina McCartney or Charmain Bell on 028 7939 7979 or email olympictorch@magherafelt.gov.uk