Northern Ireland

Magherafelt Olympic rings in world record success

Magherafelt in County Londonderry is in the record books after its attempt to have the most people forming the Olympic rings was officially certified by Guinness World Records.

The arrangement which welcomed the Olympic torch's visit to the town on 7 June was created by 3,206 pupils and teachers from 33 local schools.

Magherafelt District Council, who organised the event, believed they could beat Bath's attempt.

They made national headlines by forming the rings with 2,234 participants.

The council team fast-tracked their application and organised everything in seven days.

Preparation involved ordering more than 3,000 ponchos as one of the specifications in gaining the record was that participants were in similar clothing in the various colours of the rings.

Strict guidelines also had to be adhered to which included forming the rings for at least 10 minutes and making it easily identifiable from above.

Image caption The rings were created by 3206 pupils and teachers from 33 local schools.

Michael Browne, the council's head of community services, said despite a setback due to adverse weather conditions and a move in the location the world record eventually went ahead.

"The event was scheduled for the Thursday and all was set up for the display to take place outside - everything had been measured out and we knew exactly where each school was to be," he said.

"But two days before, on the Bank Holiday Tuesday, we realised that we were going to have to rethink things due to a very bad forecast of weather.

"Meadowbank Sports Arena was the obvious choice as it's the largest arena of its kind in Europe and would be able to accommodate the 3,000 plus children.

"In the end, moving indoors turned out favourable with everyone able to participate in the world record attempt in dry conditions."

Newly-elected council chairman Paul McLean said he was pleased the hard work by the school children had now been rewarded.

"To celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay visit on 7 June, Magherafelt District Council set out to get as many people involved in something that they would remember for the rest of their lives, and a Guinness World Record is a very fitting way to achieve this," he said.

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