Northern Ireland prepares for World Police and Fire Games 2013:

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WPFG Opening Ceremony details announced:

The 2013 World Police and Fire Games will begin on Thursday 1st August 2013 with an Opening Ceremony at the King’s Hall complex which will celebrate the diversity of Northern Ireland and showcase local talent in music and dance.

Co-ordinated by Belfast City Council in consultation with 2013 WPFG, DCAL and the World Police and Fire Games Federation, the programme will feature the Games’ traditional parade of competing athletes and will also include a moment of reflection for police, fire and prison officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the last Games in 2011.

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable, Judith Gillespie, Chair of 2013 WPFG explains, “The Opening Ceremony is the key official event during the Games and sets the tone for the following ten days of competition and comradeship. It not only enables all the athletes to meet fellow colleagues from across the world but also gives the host city the opportunity to offer its own unique welcome to the thousands of competitors along with their friends and families. We’re delighted too that many of the schools and clubs that have been involved in the WPFG’s school’s legacy programme will also be taking part in the ceremony.

“It promises to be an impressive start to what is going to be the ‘friendliest’ Games ever and we are particularly pleased that like the majority of the 56 sports featured that this event is also open to the public with tickets being available from today through Ticketmaster.”

The Opening Ceremony is one of the key elements required of the host city by the World Police and Fire Games Federation. It is designed to reflect the ethos of the uniformed services and follows set guidelines including the march-past or parade of the competing athletes, watched by friends and family. It must also highlight the input of the services to society and have a pause for remembrance of fallen officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Whilst embracing those requirements the host city can then deliver a ceremony which best reflects its own culture and ethos.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, said the significance of Belfast hosting these Games is enormous for our city.  “This is an amazing opportunity for us to showcase our world class facilities and venues and for us, yet again, to reap the benefits of an international spotlight shining on us. As always, the potential for our tourism industry will be uppermost in our minds,” he added.

“We will be rolling out the welcome mat in Belfast so that the visitors will leave here and spread the word about what we have to offer and the good experiences they have enjoyed. Having already been billed as “the friendliest Games”, we are determined to live up to that reputation.  Working with our partners, we fully expect to make the most of this incredible opportunity”.

On 1st August competitors and spectators will begin gathering from 3pm and enjoy a pre-ceremony entertainment programme with a Food Market and drinks provided by Games’ sponsors Food NI and the Horatio Group. The show will begin at 6.30pm with the Athletes Parade and will be interspersed with carnival/performance pieces. In all there will be four sections to the ceremony combining music and dance with set piece formalities and including a specially commissioned piece entitled “Dare To Dream” by musical composer John Anderson.

Tickets for the Opening Ceremony are available from today on a first-come first-served basis to the general public via Ticketmaster. The tickets are free but there will be an administration fee of £2.50 applied to each ticket. Tickets are bookable online at www.ticketmaster.ie. Access to the Opening Ceremony will be by ticket only