Our time to shine

Pacemaker Press Belfast 01-08-2012; COLERAINE Borough Council's Mayor, Councillor Sam Cole met with Prime Minister David Cameron on his visit to Northern Ireland. Mr Cameron's engagements in N.Ireland are part of a UK-wide tour to promote the Olympic Games.'He met rowers and officials at Bann Rowing Club in Coleraine, ahead of races featuring Alan Campbell and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers followed by a civic reception in Coleraine Town Hall hosted by Mayor Cole. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 01-08-2012; COLERAINE Borough Council's Mayor, Councillor Sam Cole met with Prime Minister David Cameron on his visit to Northern Ireland. Mr Cameron's engagements in N.Ireland are part of a UK-wide tour to promote the Olympic Games.'He met rowers and officials at Bann Rowing Club in Coleraine, ahead of races featuring Alan Campbell and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers followed by a civic reception in Coleraine Town Hall hosted by Mayor Cole. 'Picture By: Arthur Allison.
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2012: Our Time Our Place.

The catchline of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board might have easily been written for Coleraine.

This year really has been the borough’s time to shine.

It began with the unlikely prospect of the Irish Open coming to Portrush and continued last week with the surprise visit of Prime Minister David Cameron.

And 24 hours later the global spotlight shone on Coleraine again as rowers Richard and Peter Chambers won the borough’s first ever Olympic medals - silver in the Lightweight Men’s Fours at London 2012.

The on Friday, Alan Campbell rowed heroically to win a bronze in the single sculls.

Few of us could have dreamt of days like this.

So far this year we have seen an unforgettable Diamond Jubilee weekend which incorporated two days of the Olympic Torch being carried across the borough - and unforgettably along the River Bann - in June.

Then it was onto Darren, G-Mac and Rory at Royal Portrush for the record-breaking Irish Open.

Fast forward to last month and we celebrated the 30th anniversary of another Coleraine and Northern Ireland success story - the Milk Cup.

But last week was almost surreal: a visit from the British Prime Minister during the Olympic Games celebrating OUR three rowing heroes, Alan Campbell and the Chambers boys.

And then a quick excursion to the new Giant’s Causeway visitors centre for an iconic photo session.

In Coleraine the Premier spoke to officials and rowers at Bann Rowing Club and later met one of the young prospects who lit the Olympic cauldron at the stunning opening ceremony.

He also praised torchbearers who carried the Olympic flame through Northern Ireland.

Mr Cameron said: “Our country is a small country that does big things.

The Prime Minister met Katie Kirk, 18, a 400m athlete who is a future Olympic hopeful and was nominated by Dame Mary Peters to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony, at a civic reception in Coleraine Town Hall.

He told Katie: “It was a beautiful, magical moment for our country and it was great that you were part of it.”

Katie described the moment she lit the cauldron in front of millions.

“It felt really good, it was a brilliant experience,” she said.

“The atmosphere was emotional and electrifying, really.”

He also met a series of torchbearers from Northern Ireland, among thousands who carried it around the UK.

Mr Cameron added: “The Olympic Games is something not just for London, not just for England, it is something for the whole of the UK and it really brings it home to me, coming here to Coleraine and seeing the amazing contribution you are making to our rowing.”

FULL DAVID CAMERON

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