HRH The Princess Royal was guest of honour for December’s Mary Peters Trust ‘Golden Gala’ fundraiser at Belfast’s Europa Hotel.
The special black-tie event, hosted by leading actor Jimmy Nesbitt, rounded off a year of celebrations and activities to mark 50 years since Lady Mary’s iconic Olympic Gold medal win at Munich in 1972.
The Princess Royal is Patron of the Trust which Mary established after achieving her own Olympic dream with the aim of nurturing and supporting young sports people from across Northern Ireland to enable them to attain their individual sporting goals.
Joining Her Royal Highness and Lady Mary were friends and sporting colleagues from throughout Mary’s 50 years since Munich including Olympic stars Tessa Sanderson, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith, Christine Ohuruogu, Dalton Grant and Dame Katharine Grainger. Also present and telling their sporting stories were past and current Mary Peters Trust athletes; Michael McKillop, Aidan Walsh, Rhys McClenaghan, Eve Walsh-Dann and Amy Hunter.
Reflecting on the evening and her Olympic anniversary Lady Mary commented:
“2022 has been an amazing year and the Trust organised and supported so many interesting fundraising events. These included our Corporate Games in June, an Ulster Museum exhibition of memorabilia and Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council’s Running Festival as well as a hugely memorable Afternoon Tea at the Europa where I was honoured to welcome Olympic legends Heide Rosendahl, Ann Packer and Daley Thompson.
“I’m deeply grateful to HRH The Princess Royal for coming over to Belfast to attend our commemorative finale dinner. It was a wonderful evening and a fitting end to an exceptional year. Fifity years ago, Princess Anne presented me with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy, which she had won the previous year. It’s a very special memory and one that I treasure.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Trust, taken part in fundraising activities, or made donations. We really appreciate your help especially in today’s challenging times. What we do makes a huge difference, and indeed so many of the medal winning athletes at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are or have been supported by the Trust. We are all looking forward to seeing how our athletes perform at the next Olympics in Paris, 2024.”
Mary’s sell-out ‘Golden Gala’ included a generous range of auction items headlined by bespoke artworks created by local painters Neil Shawcross and Colin Davidson. In charge of the gavel was best-selling author Lord Archer who also entertained guests with his stories whilst helping to raise additional funds for the Mary Peters Trust. Also taking part and undertaking roles during the evening were BBC presenters Holly Hamilton and Stephen Watson.
For more information visit MaryPetersTrust.org and Mary Peters Trust on Instagram and Facebook.