Mary had a little lamb — or rather a whole herd of them.
As traffic came to a standstill in Belfast yesterday morning, few could believe their eyes when they saw Dame Mary Peters herding sheep through the city centre.
Northern Ireland’s Olympic queen helped herd the sheep through the front gates of the City Hall and along Donegall place to highlight the conferment on her of the Freedom of the City of Belfast on May 8.
“Sadly, it is a myth that being given the Freedom of the City entitles me to graze sheep on the front lawn of City Hall, but that hasn’t stopped us today,” Dame Mary joked.
“These days the title is purely honorary but that doesn’t detract in any way from this being the highest possible civic honour,” she added. Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson said the Freedom of the City was a “well deserved accolade for one of our best known Olympians who has a special place in the hearts of people across all parts of Belfast and beyond”.
The Freedom ceremony will take place on the evening of May 8 in the Great Hall of City Hall.
Earlier in the day 300 children, from schools and organisations across the city, will participate in pentathlon-style sports on the front lawns of the City Hall.