from Athletic Northern Ireland website Three local sporting heroes will be taking centre stage at the start of Belfast’s Christmas celebrations. Paralympics gold medallist Michael McKillop, and Olympics bronze medallist Paddy Barnes and silver medallist Wendy Houvenaghal will be special guests at the switching on of the city’s Christmas lights on Tuesday evening 18 November.
They will join Lord Mayor Tom Hartley, ‘Hollyoaks’ star Gerard McCarthy, ghost-chasing TV and movie star Scooby Doo and ‘X Factor’ finalists Same Difference to kick off the festive season in celebratory style.
“The switching on of the Christmas lights is always a great night for all the family, and this year promises to be just that little bit special,” said Councillor Hartley.
“Over the years, we have attracted many top stars to appear at Belfast’s switch on, and I am particularly delighted that this year we will be using the event to honour the remarkable achievements of three of the local heroes from Beijing earlier this year.”
Michael McKillop, who won two gold medals at the Paralympics, said he was equally excited about taking part in the switch on.
“I think I’ll be as nervous as I was at the starting line in Beijing! It’s going to be a really fantastic evening and I’m honoured to be one of the people to Switch on Belfast’s Christmas Lights.”
Speaking from her training base in Cornwall, cycling silver medallist Wendy Houvenaghal added:
“What a year it has been for all three of us: just a few months ago, we were winning Olympic medals in Beijing, now we’re going to be together on stage at the City Hall in Belfast. I am absolutely delighted to be part of this special evening in Belfast and thank Belfast City Council for inviting us to be part of the proceedings.”
The annual Belfast City Council Christmas Lights Switch On takes place on Tuesday 18 November, with the entertainment programme beginning at 7.30pm.[Pictured: Michael McKillop in Beijing]