Magherafelt Celebrating Excellence, with probably the biggest torch relay event in Northern Ireland

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 celebration is the biggest participatory event ever organised by the Council to mark the once-in-a-lifetime visit of the world-famous flame.  An estimated 7,000 people from the district will be involved directly, and this will include people from schools, businesses, charities and community groups. The impressive events will also involve all sectors and all ages of the community, making sure that everyone has an opportunity to be involved.

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, with some world class champions. 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. On that night a big screen will transmit messages from some of NI biggest names, wishing Magherafelt well.

In the run up to the event the people of Magherafelt were asked to nominated Olympian Greek gods and goddesses, who will also form part of the festivities. The LOCAL 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 sports broadcaster, 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.

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.”

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 Greenvale 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