Star-studded lineup revealed for opening ceremony of Special Olympics National Games

Tony Hadley will perform at the Special Olympics National Games opening ceremony in Sheffield on August 8.
Tony Hadley will perform at the Special Olympics National Games opening ceremony in Sheffield on August 8.
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With just a month to go before the Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield, stars of music and sport are preparing for a spectacular opening ceremony.

Organisers this week revealed Tony Hadley, formerly of Spandau Ballet, will sing at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane stadium as part of the event on August 8.

Tickets are now on sale for the ceremony, which will be hosted by Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter, Moto GP broadcaster Suzi Perry and football pundit Chris Kamara.

Former Superbike world champion James Toseland will perform the official games anthem 'We'll Stop At Nothing', and spectators will also see Yorkshire-based artists from companies such as Under the Stars and Kansaze African Dancers.

But the real highlight will be the parade of the 2,600 Special Olympics GB athletes who will compete in 20 sports across four days during the games.

Sheffield-based theatre director Nathan Geering, who is directing the opening ceremony, said: “It will take a unique slant on Olympic events by enhancing them with artistic flair to inspire the nation to not only dream big but to fly high and achieve their dreams.

"We all have the right to love the life we live and to live the life we truly love.

"The opening ceremony will be filled with passion, emotion and inspiration to ignite a fire within all of us to achieve greatness."

Although the ceremony will take place regardless, Special Olympics GB is crowdfunding to try to make the event as special as possible for the athletes.

There are seven days left to donate at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/2017-special-olympics-gb-national-summer-games.

James Toseland will perform the official games anthem.

James Toseland will perform the official games anthem.

The event has also secured key sponsorship from Meadowhall.

Centre director Darren Pearce said: "We are delighted to be involved and supporting the Special Olympics GB in Sheffield.

"It’s a real coup for the city to attract such a high-profile event and Meadowhall will be helping to fly the flag for all the competitors over the coming weeks.

“There are many varied sports taking place over the four days and the Meadowhall team are all looking forward to seeing some spectacular competitions unfold across Sheffield and the region come August.”

Meadowhall is a games sponsor.

Meadowhall is a games sponsor.

And support has come from two Sheffield firms who hosted a fundraising night.

Risk management specialist Xactium, based in Nether Edge, and Prithiraj restaurant in Ecclesall Road helped bring in over £8,000.

Xactium director Sheila Gupta said: "My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the fantastic team at the Prithiraj fine Indian restaurant on Ecclesall Road for their kindness in helping us to host our Special Olympics charity evening."

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Risk management specialist Xactium, based in Nether Edge, and Prithiraj restaurant in Ecclesall Road helped bring in over 8,000 for the games.

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