Sports Minister Carál Ni Chuilín is urging people from Newtownabbey to help carry the Olympic flame on its journey around the north of Ireland.
With less than one year to go until the Olympic Torch relay begins, Minister Ní Chuilín welcomed the opportunity to take the torch on a series of stops throughout the province this week - including to Hazelwood Integrated College in Newtownabbey - in a bid to encourage people to nominate inspirational members of the community who deserve their moment to shine.
Speaking at Hazelwood Integrated College on Tuesday (June 21), the Minister said: “It is a privilege to have this unique opportunity to bring the Olympic Torch to the north of Ireland ahead of next year’s relay. We in the north need hundreds of torch bearers to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. With the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) campaign closing on June 29 2011, I would urge everyone to get nominating now.”
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) recently confirmed that the Olympic Flame will be carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers during the 70-day relay around the UK, with up to 600 people being required from the north.
The Minister continued: “I know there are hundreds of people across the borth of Ireland who deserve to be recognised in this unique way. Their inspirational stories deserve to be shared across our communities and with the World. By nominating local people it is your chance to help shape the Olympic Torch relay and play a key role in marking the start of the Olympic Games an incredible opportunity.”
Mayor of Newtownabbey, Alderman Billy Webb said: “Carrying the Olympic Flame is a fantastic honour and local people have the opportunity to reward someone inspirational by nominating them to be part of this historic event.
“This is a great opportunity to give someone you know, who has made a difference and who deserves recognition, their moment to shine. It would be fantastic to have some Newtownabbey people taking part in the Torch Relay.”
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: “Carrying the Olympic Flame is an incredible honour and provides the people of Northern Ireland the opportunity to reward someone inspirational by nominating them to be part of this historic event. This is a great occasion for the people of the region to give someone they know, who has made a difference their moment to shine. We have no doubt that the welcome Northern Ireland will provide will demonstrate the support of the local community and how the spirit of the Olympic Games is reaching out across the UK.”
Nominate at http:www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay by providing up to 150 words on why your nominee should carry the Olympic Flame. Nominations will close on June 29 2011.
Judging panels will be set up in each nation and region of the UK to select the torchbearers for their area. Young people in particular from across Northern Ireland are encouraged to get involved, with half of the total number of torchbearer places expected to go to those aged between 12 and 24 years of age who are considered leading lights in their local communities.