She is Northern Ireland’s golden girl. And now some of the most successful athletes in British sporting history are lining up for the chance to pay tribute to Northern Ireland's queen of track and field.
Dame Mary Peters will be the guest of honour at a gala event being celebrated at Belfast’s Grand Opera House on Sunday.
But she won’t be the only Olympic gold medallist at the star-studded event — in fact there will be 10 others.
Stars of the sporting and entertainment worlds will come together at the ‘Mary Peters: 40 Golden Years’ celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of her spectacular win in the pentathlon at the 1972 Games.
Members of the public who missed out on getting tickets to the Olympics still have the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest stars of the sporting world, with gold medallist guests including Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Steve Redgrave and Denise Lewis.
Northern Ireland football legend Pat Jennings will be among those paying tribute, while there will be video messages from Lord Coe and our trio of Major-winning golfers, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Music will be provided by Van Morrison, Brian Kennedy and Phil Coulter. And homegrown personalities Patrick Kielty and Eamonn Holmes will also be making appearances. All proceeds from the event will go to Mary Peters Trust — the province-wide charity which offers financial help to individuals from all recognised sports.
Dame Mary, who is a patron of the Friends of the Grand Opera House, said that she couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of her Olympics success.
“What better way for me to celebrate and remember all the good times over many, many years than to spend it enjoying the craic with friends and the Northern Ireland public, who have supported me over all these years,” she said.
Broadcaster Gerry Kelly will present the star-studded night. “This promises to be an outstanding event that has been in the works since January,” he said. “The turnout and sheer quality of guests is testament to how much Mary is thought of. Everyone was so eager to get involved.
“It will be wonderful to see Van Morrison close the show with a special song dedicated to Mary, and there will be a few surprises in store for her on the night as well.”
Black tie is preferable but optional at the event. The show begins on Sunday at 7.30pm. Ticket prices range from £50 to £100 and can be bought from The Grand Opera House box office on 028 9024 1919. For more information log onto www.goh.co.uk/.