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Welcome gift for athletes reflects Manchester’s cotton heritage

19 July 2002

Nearly 4,000 athletes from across the Commonwealth will be officially welcomed to Manchester over the next six days.

Simon Seabright gift

The gift by Simon Seabright uses embroidery, oil pastels and cotton

Team Welcome Ceremonies begin at the Athletes Village on Friday 19 July. Each welcome ceremony lasts for 45 minutes and will involve the Village Mayor formally welcoming the teams to the village, their national anthem being played and local schoolchildren performing a welcome song.

They will also be presented with a unique gift - a specially commissioned piece of artwork from Manchester artist Simon Seabright.

The first athlete to see the gift at the Athletes Village was Australian 100m hurdler Fiona Cullen, who is competing in her first Commonwealth Games.

Produced on cotton and manufactured using traditional methods at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, the 72 different textile pictures are a collage of colours and shapes inspired by Manchester’s cotton manufacturing past. They are made from embroidery, oil pastels and cotton.

Artist Simon Seabright said: “I wanted to express the history of the north west in my artwork. Not only did I use the machinery at Quarry Bank Mill as inspiration but I was able to work with the cotton that the mill manufactures using traditional factory methods.”

Welcome Ceremonies manager, Ann-Louise Morgan, said: “The aim of the Team Welcome Ceremonies is to welcome the participants to the Athletes Village, to Manchester and the UK prior to the Opening Ceremony. We want to create a warm and friendly ambience and provide an inspirational start to the Games for athletes and guests.”

An exhibition of Simon Seabright’s work will be on show in the Mill Kitchen at Quarry Bank Mill from 24 July to 12 August.

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