The event coincided with the eve of the 40th anniversary of the day Dame Mary won Pentathlon Gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Olympians past and present lined up to watch the unveiling and included Dame Kelly Holmes, Duncan Goodhew, Daley Thompson, Lynn Davies, Sean Kerly, Alan Campbell, Stephen Martin, Jimmy Kirkwood, Hugh Russell, and Adrian Moorhouse.
Simon Lilley explains: “Dame Mary Peters has been an inspirational role model for people of all ages throughout N.Ireland and beyond ever since her memorable golden victory in 1972. Her continuing commitment and dedication to sport and in particular to the development of talent in young people has been truly remarkable. The Mary Peters Trust has supported a host of now successful sports stars and, in line with Flybe’s commitment to various sporting partnerships throughout the UK, we have been delighted not only to sponsor the 40 Year Celebration Event held in her honour in the Grand Opera House but also to make our own unique contribution to support the province’s proud recognition of one of its greatest ever sporting heroes. Dedicating an aircraft to such a legendary figure is our special way of saying congratulations to Dame Mary. As she flies across the Flybe route network, we hope that it will promote even further Dame Mary’s achievements, inspiring and highlighting her achievements to an even wider audience,”
The Flybe Q400 G-FLBD will feature the iconic life size image of Dame Mary originally taken by her father on 3rd September 1972. She is pictured standing on the podium just after the Olympic gold medal ceremony. Alongside the image is the new name of the aircraft, ‘The Mary Peters’.
Adds Mr Lilley: “Dame Mary celebrated her very special 40th anniversary this weekend and our airline has recently marked its tenth year as Flybe. Two very different milestones but both demonstrating a strong legacy of achievement and commitment which is assured well into the future, both here and throughout the rest of the UK.”
Flybe has previously named four other aircraft to honour local sporting heroes – George Best in Belfast, Kevin Keegan in Newcastle, Matt le Tissier in Southampton and Adam Stansfield in Exeter.