Big birthday bash as Olympic heroine Mary Peters turns 80

Mike Bull, OBE - Pole Vaulter and Decathlete - with Mary Peters
Mike Bull, OBE - Pole Vaulter and Decathlete - with Mary Peters
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An estimated 400-plus guests have attended a birthday party in Belfast for Northern Irish Olympic gold medal winner Lady Mary Peters.

The former athlete was marking her 80th birthday.

Lady Mary at her birthday party

Lady Mary at her birthday party

Attendees gathered at Titanic Belfast for a black-tie dinner tonight – 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 reaching its £1 million target which in intended to ensure funding and support for Northern Ireland’s future high-performance sportspeople.

Athletes presented a choregraphed performance alongside local choir Adoro – both created by top musical director and performer Ashley Fulton.

Belfast songwriter and singer Brian Kennedy gave a rendition of ‘Love, Life, Happiness’ and guests who travelled from across the water included decathlon star Daley Thompson and rower Katherine Grainger – both Olympic gold medallists.

Lady Mary extends a hand

Lady Mary extends a hand

Local sporting talent present to wish Lady Mary ‘Happy Birthday’ included rugby legends Willie-John McBride and Mike Gibson along with a representative squad from Ulster’s 1999 European Cup winning rugby team.

To highlight Dame Mary’s commitment to sport an exhibition – described by organisers as a “micro-museum” – of photographs and memorabilia was on show to illustrate Mary’s life.

It included Mary’s winning top and shoes from the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.