The Borough of Ballymena is proud to be one of only 6 areas in the province to be part of the Paralympic Torch Relay in the lead up to the Paralympic Games opening in London on 29th August
On Saturday 25th August at 2.00pm a special show will be staged in The Braid Arts Centre for the arrival of the Paralympic Flame. The Mayor, Councillor PJ McAvoy will officially accept the Flame to the Borough in a specially designed lantern. The Flame will be lit from a cauldron at the steps of Stormont that morning and lanterns will then be distributed to Ballymena, Belfast, Newry, Lisburn, Carrickfergus and Cookstown where special events will take place throughout the day
The Paralympic Flame Relay will differ from the Olympic Torch Relay which included Torch Bearers running through towns and cities. The Paralympic Flame will arrive in a Lantern, with no relay or runners but escorted by two Flame Ambassadors to The Braid.
The Ballymena Lantern will be transported back to the Borough with the help of The Country Garage BMW Dealership who will be providing a 5 series BMW to transport the special flame to the Borough. Two local Flame Ambassadors will collect the Lantern on behalf of the people of the Borough – Pamela McGuigan, a member of a new Chior established especially for the event and Paul McLister, one of the Olympic Torch Bearers in the Ballymena leg will both attend the event at Stormont to collect the Flame.
Two specially commissioned shows will take place in The Braid Arts Centre that day to commemorate the occasion, a 2.oopm show and a 7.00pm show, with an after show party at 9.00pm that evening with the Janet Dowd Band.
Sainsburys are supporting the events in The Braid as a major sponsor of the Paralympics and will be providing complimentary refreshments at the after show party
The Mayor of Ballymena, Councillor PJ McAvoy commented, ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with these two local companies, Sainsburys and The Country Garage have been very kind in offering their support for this wonderful event and we look forward to some great shows in The Braid Arts Centre. I am delighted to be involved in the Paralympic Programme and wish all the athletes taking part in the Games good luck’
During the day 2 shows will be staged in the Theatre in The Braid Arts Centre featuring a special choir led by Sylvia Burnside, the choir was set up specifically for this event and is made up of local people of all ages performing some wonderful songs and solos. Also performing will be young local actors under the direction of Stephen Kelly of C21 Theatre Company, Belfast. Tickets for the 2 shows are currently on sale for the 2.00pm show and 7.00pm show. Later that evening on Saturday 25th August a free music show featuring the Janet Dowd Band will be held in the Atrium area of The Braid as an after show party.
Tickets for all events are available from the Box Office at The Braid and admission is strictly by ticket only
As part of the day’s activities Mid Antrim Museum are hosting an exhibition featuring sporting memorabilia and images from the Museum Collection and panels featuring the Boroughs Olympic & Paralympic Programme 2012 including Olympic Torch Relay Lanterns and artefacts and medals from previous Olympic Games
Also on display in The Braid Arts Centre a series of large textile Murals entitled Hands Around The World will be on display
This is an Exhibition of new textile Murals created in the Borough by local people throughout April as part of a worldwide series of Murals
Local school children worked on the piece alongside local community groups and members of the public
The works created were displayed in Stormont – June 2012 and Westminster in July 2012 as part of the Olympic & Paralympic Programme at Westminster
The project funded was awarded the Inspire Mark and Truce Mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad Programme and was funded by Ballymena Borough Council
Rosalind Lowry, Arts & Events Development Officer for Ballymena Borough Council commented,
‘We are really looking forward to Saturday 25th August, the Choir and Drama group have put a lot of hard work into this event and the excitement is building at the prospect of the Paralympic Flame arriving on stage in The Braid. Six other Councils are taking part in the celebrations but Ballymena are concentrating on the Cultural aspect of the Games and continuing with the strong Cultural Olympiad Programme that has been running for the past year’
The Paralympic Lantern Flame will be on display in The Atrium area of The Braid between 4.00pm and 6.00pm and 9.00pm to 10.00pm on Saturday 25th August