Belfast Telegraph

Olympic Torch to be welcomed to Derry by four-day celebration

By Brendan McDaid

Thousands of pink ladies, bouncing clowns and comic book heroes will be helping to mark the arrival of the London 2012 Olympic Torch in Londonderry next month.

The travelling flame, which began its epic journey after being lit in Olympia in Greece last week (right), is due to reach the Maiden City on Monday, June 4.

To mark the occasion, the London Olympic Organising Committee in partnership with Derry City Council are planning a four-day cultural programme celebrating and exploring the aims of the Olympic movement. Built around the themes of inclusion and building good relations, the Derry programme kicks off on Friday, June 1, with a Cultural Olympiad.

As part of this, the Verbal Arts Centre will host the annual 2-D Comic Book Festival along the theme of Olympic truce, while Derry will host the children's My Hero exhibition.

The Nerve Centre and NI Screen will also exhibit films produced by the Animate project.

On June 2, as part of the Play Olympiad, Derry will invite people from different areas of the city and visitors from abroad to come together to enjoy the city’s free play facilities.

Among those taking part will be 50 young visiting European volunteers.

There will be free transport to visit the play areas, and an all-day play bus tour will continually circulate between different parks.

Sustrans, meanwhile, will use this day to launch the new greenway at St Columb's Park, with a cycle procession departing from different areas of the city and arriving at the park.

The first day of Carnival of Colours festival at St Columb's Park will also begin on the same day.

As part of the Sports Olympiad on June 3, national-affiliated locally-based sports organisations will have the opportunity to showcase their chosen sport at St Columb’s Park.

The events will enable them to promote new membership through taster activity and ‘try it out’ events.

The Pink Ladies cancer campaigners’ fun run will see 5,000 women gathering to take part in a charity race in aid of Foyle Hospice.

On the final day on June 4, an Olympic carnival and evening celebration is being organised.factfile

The Torch Relay will journey through the city on June 4 and will be welcomed to the Evening Celebration at the Stadium in St Columb's Park.

The programme of activity will include a Carnival Parade from the Council Offices, the Carnival of Colours, pre-show activities at the Stadium and an Evening Celebration.

The Torch will depart early on Tuesday, June 5.

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