independent

Wednesday 30 July 2014

The Ring Master

Jimmy Magee to host Freeman Ceremony for Billy

SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

Published 06/11/2012|18:52

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Team Ireland boxing head coach Billy Walsh with John Joe Nevin after John Joe's victory over Cuban Lazaro Alvarez Estrada at the London Olympics in August, 2012

THE Wexford man behind Irish boxing glory at the London Olympics will step into the spotlight himself at celebrations in his honour this weekend.

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Billy Walsh, head boxing coach with the Irish Olympics team, will receive his home town's highest honour, the Freedom of the Borough, in Wexford Opera House on Sunday.

An afternoon of celebrations will kick off with a parade through the town led by the Fife and Drum Band.

Crowds are expected to line the route of the parade which will start at the Bull Ring and move through the Main Street and Rowe Street.

When the parade reaches High Street a guard of honour by local boxing clubs will line the street.

Once inside the Opera House Billy will be treated to a special performance by the Wexford Folk Orchestra, which is scheduled for 2.30 p.m.

Members of the public are welcome to join the celebrations in the Opera House. Seating for about 500 people will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Prior to the official ceremony, renowned RTE sports commentator and 'memory man', Jimmy Magee will talk about Billy Walsh's career and contribution to boxing. This will be followed by some words from Mayor Jim Allen and Billy himself.

The official signing of the Roll of Honour scroll will conclude the official ceremony and a special presentation will then be made to the new Freeman by the Mayor.

At its September Meeting, Wexford Borough Council unanimously passed a Resolution to confer the Freedom of the Borough on Billy Walsh in recognition of his contribution to Irish boxing on an international scale.

Billy will become the sixth Wexford native to receive this honour which was last conferred upon the Franciscan Order's Fr. Brian Allen in 1999.

Others to have received Wexford's Freedom of the Borough accolade include Charles Stewart Parnell, who was the very first recipient 1881; U.S. President John F. Kennedy; and Dr. George Hadden who was founder of Wexford Male Voice Choir and the Wexford Historical Society.

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