Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman, and member of the Agriculture and Culture Committees, has appealed to all constituents for a “massive and magnificent turnout” to welcome the London Olympic Flame as it comes through the constituency early next month.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman, Chief Whip and Party Sports Spokesman, made the call as Olympic organisers emphasised the Northern Ireland route, which included North Antrim on Sunday 3 June, 2012.
Mr Swann said: “I am really pleased the organisers have included North Antrim in the London Olympic Torch relay through Northern Ireland.
“On Sunday 3 June, 2012, the Flame will come into Ballycastle from Cushendall, and then proceed to Dervock and Bushmills, before heading into Portrush in our neighbouring East Londonderry constituency.
“On Thursday 7 June, the Flame will again return to North Antrim when it comes to Ballymena and Moorfields on the final leg of its Northern Ireland route
“I appeal to as many constituents as possible to turn out and cheer the Flame as it makes its way through North Antrim.
“The Olympic Games is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and constituents will have a chance to be a part of those historic games by being present to cheer on the Flame as it makes its way, not just across Northern Ireland, but specifically through our own North Antrim.”
Mr Swann said he was especially pleased to see that Dervock had been included on the relay route as he had personally campaigned for its inclusion given the village’s own historic link to the famous Games.
Earlier in the current Stormont session, Assemblyman Swann met with Mr Daniel Schofield from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) at Parliament Buildings to discuss the torch coming through the North Antrim village.
Mr Swann added: “I met with a delegation from LOCOG at Stormont and personally handed Mr Schofield a letter from myself inviting the torch relay to pass through Dervock, which has a terrific historical link with the Olympic Games.
“I also want to thank the LOCOG for the opportunity to meet and discuss the arrangements for the torch relay.
“In 1912, Kennedy Kane McArthur won gold in the Olympic Marathon in Stockholm. His success has long been celebrated by the community of Dervock where the local Community Association organises a half-marathon in July each year to commemorate his feat.
“This small community has for many years demonstrated a commitment to maintaining the memory of Kennedy Kane McArthur’s achievement and the short visit by the torch team is a worthy way of acknowledging that work.
“The famous Flame coming to Dervock itself as well as other parts of North Antrim will be a tremendous tourist and economic boost for the constituency,” said Mr Swann.
The North Antrim MLA said as part of his campaign to bring the Flame to the constituency, he had also posed a written question to the Stormont Culture Minister, urging her to encourage the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, to add Dervock and other North Antrim locations as additional places for the Olympic Flame.
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