AFTER 12 glorious days, in which Birmingham showed the world just what we can do, the Commonwealth Games have come to an end with a closing ceremony just as enjoyable as the spectacular opening.
We weren’t the first choice to host the Games and only stepped in after it became apparent that Durban couldn’t deliver. It meant there was far less time to prepare than normal for such an event.
There were those who said we couldn’t do it and those who cautioned against it but the city has come through with flying colours and Brummies everywhere have a right to swell with pride.
The activities were spread far and wide by using the wonderful Sandwell Aquatics and the Ericsson Centre in Coventry, as well as venues like the University of Birmingham and Edgbaston Stadium.
We even had the marathon going through Selly Oak and the baton relay in places like Cotteridge Park and Swanshurst Park.
There have also been wonderful local events funded by the city. Last Sunday, I visited the culmination of a week-long festival in Bournville Park where over 250 youngsters had been taking part in free football and tennis sessions.
I was also pleased to visit the exhibition of local artist Ken Banks at Yardley Wood library and see his Masks of the Commonwealth Games. And who will forget the Bull? We have shown our best face around the globe. Our facilities have proved a match for sports grounds anywhere. The policing and security arrangements were spot on and delivered a safe and incident-free extravaganza.
The volunteer helpers have been fantastic and the people of Birmingham outstanding in their hospitality, good humour, and generous spirit. We’ve shown the world that there’s no risk in asking Brummies to handle major sporting, cultural or political events. The city lived up to its slogan “Be Bold Be Birmingham”. It’s a pleasure to be able to say a huge thank-you to all involved. You made me proud to be a Brummie. You made me proud to say, “I’m a Member of Parliament for that great city of Birmingham.”