Open top bus for McKillop homecoming

Published Wednesday, 19 September 2012
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Michael McKillop, who won two gold medals at the Paralympics, has said he hopes his success will encourage others from Newtownabbey to excel, during his homecoming tour on Wednesday.

Open top bus for McKillop homecoming
Michael McKillop displays his medals and meets former teachers at St MacNissis. (© UTV)

The local athlete celebrated his wins at his former primary school, St MacNissi's, where he was greeted by pupils chanting his name.

The school had pictures of Michael during his time at St MacNissi's on display as well as the children's paintings of Michael crossing the finish line.

"Going away to London and coming back with two gold medals it's something special and you can see the excitement on the kids' faces whenever I arrived in," he said.

"Hopefully look at all the photos and the memories that I've had at this primary school there could be another Michael McKillop coming out of this school, not only in running, but maybe in football and other different types of sport."

He was then taken through Glengormley on an open top bus where he stopped at the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice, Abbeycentre and finally Mossley Mill.

Newtownabbey Borough Council encouraged people to show their support by lining the route and turning out at the various destinations for a chance to meet McKillop and congratulate him on his success.

"It's weird to think that people would want to honour me but I guess it's such a big thing that I've achieved and something that can change Newtownabbey," added Michael.

The runner claimed victories in the T37 1500m and 800m races at London 2012 and was also named the male athlete who best embodies the spirit of the Games.

A gold post box since been painted in his honour at Sandyknowes Roundabout.

The council said: "There is no doubt that Michael's tremendous performance at the Paralympics is truly inspiring so come on Newtownabbey, let's all get out and give Michael McKillop a welcome home to remember!

"The double gold medallist will be visiting various places around the Borough, ending at Mossley Mill as part of a bus tour arranged to give Michael the hero's welcome he deserves."

McKillop's success came as fellow Northern Ireland athletes Jason Smyth and Bethany Firth also took gold during the 2012 Paralympics.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Marty in Belfast wrote (860 days ago):
I can't believe that as usual everyone is bringing politics into this. Can you not praise a young guy who has pushed himself to achieve success in the paralympics. Personally I think he should be praised no matter which team he represented. Shame on you all!!!! Michael you are a great inspiration, ignore the idiots who use every excuse to bring up the same old arguments.
WTF in Ards wrote (860 days ago):
To Seamus and Ryan. I'm sure Dave can defend himself but nowhere does he mention that you (or Michael) are not Irish???? Ryan, you're the one living in the dreamworld. Here on planet Earth everyone (apart from the usual suspects) recognise that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Your 12th century politics has no part in modern society. Nationality is a personal choice, but I wonder how many protestant Team Ireland members chose Team Ireland because they were overlooked by Team GB (and NI)? Just a thought....
Ryan in Belfast wrote (860 days ago):
Dave, 50% of the population of NI are offically and legally Irish, not british, IRISH. I am not british, i am Irish. You can be british all you want but stop living in a dreamworld where you believe NI should be completey british, its not and never will be and never has been. Your 18th century politics has no place in any decent society dave.
paddy in ardoyne wrote (861 days ago):
dave if the cap (or should i say bowler hat)fits wear it.
Séamus in Bun Abhann Dalla wrote (861 days ago):
Dave,...I don't know if you are able to read, but a settlement was reached in 1998...We make up 50% 0f the population in this part of can feel British and be British if you want, but I AM IRISH and as such you will not and cannot stop me and my people ! Bainaigh tú sult as do chuid saol.
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