Belfast Telegraph

Stellar night for Mary Peters' 80th birthday gala

Hundreds turn out for NI sporting great's party

Olympic gold medal winner Lady Mary Peters with fellow Olympian Mike Bull
Olympic gold medal winner Lady Mary Peters with fellow Olympian Mike Bull
From left, Joslyn Hoyte Smith, Chair of GB Olympians, Lady Mary Peters and Mark Montgomery, NI Judo
Allison Carruthers, Olympian Katherine Grainger and broadcaster Mark Carruthers
From left, Lady Mary Peters and surprise guest Olympian Daley Thompson
Mike Gibson MBE, rugby star for Ireland and the British & Irish Lions with David and Lynda Sterling

By Staff Reporter

More than 400 sporting guests, charity supporters and local businesses, gathered at Titanic Belfast last night to mark the 80th birthday of Lady Mary Peters.

The gala black-tie dinner sponsored by Power NI was one of a series of events organised to raise cash for 'Mary's Race to a Million' campaign.

Launched two years ago, the initiative is more than two thirds of the way to its £1m target to support Northern Ireland's future medal hopefuls.

Belfast singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy gave a special rendition of Love, Life, Happiness, and surprise sporting guests who attended included decathlon star Daley Thompson and rower Katherine Grainger, both Olympic gold medallists.

Local sporting talent present to wish Lady Mary 'Happy Birthday' included rugby legends Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson, and members of Ulster's 1999 European Cup winning rugby team. Also in attendance were GAA and netball star Caroline O'Hanlon, former Ireland rugby players Nigel Carr and Trevor Ringland, double Olympic bronze boxer Paddy Barnes, and four-time gold Paralympic athlete Michael McKillop and triple Sam Maguire winning Down GAA player, Sean O'Neill.

Stars from the world of TV and radio were also there.

Hosted by television presenter Claire McCollum, the packed gala evening featured a series of fundraising auctions and ballots.

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