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Manchester 2002 closes in spectacular style

04 August 2002

From the very first to the very last Manchester 2002 has wowed a million spectators at Games venues and millions more across the world.

HM The Queen

Her Majesty The Queen enjoys Manchester's final extravaganza

Tonight’s overwhelming Closing Ceremony at a full capacity City of Manchester Stadium in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen was no exception.

The arrival of Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh prompted an uplifting rendition of the National Anthem – played by the Guard of Honour and accompanied by 38,000 spectators - in a stadium bathed with light.

Some 800 white jacketed young people then sang an updated version of Handel’s Coronation Anthem before taking the opportunity to celebrate her Golden Jubilee by painting themselves into a fantastic, shimmering live Union Jack.

Then something amazing occurred. As Her Majesty was presented with a Jubilee gift with a young soprano adding to the charged atmosphere, a huge cloth was draped across those forming the Union Jack and a massive image of Her Majesty projected upon them from above.

From below the cloth the artists were at work again as slowly a painted portrait of Her Majesty formed. The spectacular image was then gilt framed by light projection to send a brilliant image of the monarch across the world’s TV networks.

Over 300 athletes carrying the national flags of all the nations that competed at Manchester 2002 then gathered around the stage as the formal closing of the Games began.

With the formalities underway, Manchester gave way to Melbourne, hosts of the 2006 Games. An entrancing tumbling display representing all that is Melbourne, was followed by a breathtaking performance of “Shine” by Melbourne’s own operatic superstar, Vanessa Amorrosi.

And as a final reminder of things to come at Melbourne in four years time, the eerie and heart catching strains of a didjeridoo reverberated over the rapt audience as they absorbed the magical imagery of things to come in Australia.

Her Majesty then addressed the audience to declare the Games closed.

The stadium then darkened and the sound of a massive heartbeat was heard as a celebration named Common Wealth began.

From the darkness a vast river of light flowed into the stadium – as a message of Commonwealth harmony depicting the tapestry of culture, faith and traditions of member nations.

From a sea of dancing lanterns formed a human figure from which spokes emerged. To the musical accompaniment of Jimmy Cliff and Dave Stewart, the body of lanterns shone out to the world.

As things could get no more transfixing, they did.

Twelve illuminated birds, made up of lantern bearers, surrounded a lantern child’s face, before dispersing across the stadium floor to reform as a giant dove – which accepted a lit olive branch before transforming into a giant slogan saying Seek Peace.

From there the show moved on again. Coronation Street stars Ashley and Maxine jumpstarted a procession of Morris Minors that performed – Busby Berkeley style - before a troupe of ballroom dancers tumbled from the cars to perform a Viennese Waltz.

As M People singer Heather Small performed her hit single One Night in Heaven, from within a string of Golden Jubilee hackney cabs emerged the youth prodigy of Manchester’s two football clubs, United and City.

Then it was time for appreciation of all those involved with Manchester 2002.

The thousands of volunteers who made Manchester 2002 such an outstanding success were regaled by the closing party DJ before the athletes were welcomed down into the arena from the North Stand. The stage was set for a glittering party, and those involved took part in the same way Manchester has embraced these Games over the last 11 days.

Performers including Ms Dynamite, Will Young, Beverley Knight and Top Loader led the celebration tunes as Manchester celebrated the Games, the time of its life.

A final performance of nearly 800 line dancers dressed as municipal workers “clearing away” the Games debris performed a final act before the one of the greatest of all firework displays marked the end of the ceremonies and Manchester 2002.

Everyone involved with Manchester 2002 hopes that you enjoyed the spectacle of the XVII Commonwealth Games.

Many new friends have been made by us all and we hope that you all also took a share of the Manchester 2002 experience, wherever you are.

One thing is certain, the Commonwealth Games - the Friendly Games - has taken another step forward and the Baton is passed to Melbourne 2006 with the very best wishes of all involved with Manchester 2002.

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