Belfast Telegraph

Jim makes his return to Belfast doubly special

BY MARIA MARSELLA

Jim Currell moved with his parents from Northern Ireland to Australia when he was just 14 months old.

And now he's back in his native Belfast with two very special events in mind.

It's been fifty years since he was in Northern Ireland and now the former Belfast man is back to not only compete in the World Police and Fire Games, but to renew his wedding vows with his wife of 30 years.

After competing at the Mary Peters Track yesterday afternoon, the 52-year-old made his way to Willowfield Church in east Belfast where he and his wife Janet renewed their vows in a building once at the heart of his family.

"I felt it was important to come back and the Games provided me with an excuse to get back and we really made a point of making sure that everything ran smoothly and that the time was perfect," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It is my 30th wedding anniversary with my wife Janet, and everything just seemed to fall into place. It seemed that this was the right time to come back."

Jim is a sergeant with Victoria Police in Australia, currently in his 27th year in the job.

The pair renewed their vows in the same church in Belfast where his parents got married and where he and his siblings were christened before emigrating.

"it is nice to be coming back and recognising the street names that I have been told of as a young boy. My dad is from the Antrim coast. He was born and raised in Glenarm so I went back there and had a look at the family origins in Glenarm and it was quite an emotional moment," he said.

"I have also been to where my mother grew up here in Belfast. Her father was a bit of an entrepreneur and owned a pasty factory and ran a few fish and chip shops in the area."

As for the Games, Jim had nothing but high praise about his homeland.

"The international flavour at the games is spectacular and the honour in these games is not the medal but in the competition and the participation and being part of it all is rewarding in itself.

"It was an experience being in Melbourne in 1995, but I think these games exceed it by a fair way. It has been really well organised, really well run and the welcome is fantastic.

"I think the opening ceremony is going to be very hard to top. Walking down to that crowd, to that welcome with all the Australian athletes and then seeing the Northern Irish team come down and that welcome was pretty special.

"I have just been blown away by the welcome. The Northern Irish locals, which I already knew were generous and friendly have exceeded themselves."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph