News archive


01 September 2012

Flybe, the largest airline operating out of George Best Belfast City Airport has paid its own unique tribute to Northern Ireland’s Golden Girl. ‘The Mary Peters’, a specially named Q400 aircraft, was unveiled today in the presence of the legendary sportswoman, Dame Mary Peters by Simon Lilley, Flybe Director of Marketing accompanied by Andrea Hayes, Flybe Regional General Manager.

The event coincided with the eve of the 40th anniversary of the day Dame Mary won Pentathlon Gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.  Olympians past and present lined up to watch the unveiling and included Dame Kelly Holmes, Duncan Goodhew, Daley Thompson, Lynn Davies, Sean Kerly, Alan Campbell, Stephen Martin, Jimmy Kirkwood, Hugh Russell, and Adrian Moorhouse.

Simon Lilley explains: “Dame Mary Peters has been an inspirational role model for people of all ages throughout N.Ireland and beyond ever since her memorable golden victory in 1972.  Her continuing commitment and dedication to sport and in particular to the development of talent in young people has been truly remarkable.  The Mary Peters Trust has supported a host of now successful sports stars and, in line with Flybe’s commitment to various sporting partnerships throughout the UK, we have been delighted not only to sponsor the 40 Year Celebration Event held in her honour in the Grand Opera House but also to make our own unique contribution to support the province’s proud recognition of one of its greatest ever sporting heroes.  Dedicating an aircraft to such a legendary figure is our special way of saying congratulations to Dame Mary. As she flies across the Flybe route network, we hope that it will promote even further Dame Mary’s achievements, inspiring and highlighting her achievements to an even wider audience,”

From today the Flybe Q400 G-FLBD will feature the iconic life size image of Dame Mary originally taken by her father on 3rd September 1972.  She is pictured standing on the podium just after the Olympic gold medal ceremony.  Alongside the image is the new name of the aircraft, ‘The Mary Peters’.

Adds Mr Lilley: “Dame Mary celebrated her very special 40th anniversary this weekend and our airline has recently marked its tenth year as Flybe.  Two very different milestones but both demonstrating a strong legacy of achievement and commitment which is assured well into the future, both here and throughout the rest of the UK.”

Flybe has previously named four other aircraft to honour local sporting heroes – George Best in Belfast, Kevin Keegan in Newcastle, Matt le Tissier in Southampton and Adam Stansfield in Exeter.

For more information contact Jane Wells 028 90 760066 or mobile 07860 288860 or email [email protected]
Note to Editors :

  •  Flybe is the largest airline operating out of George Best Belfast City Airport and operates services to 16 destinations.
  • Flybe last dedicated an aircraft in N.Ireland in honour of George Best in 2006.
  • Olympians present at the unveiling included :

Dame Kelly Holmes (athletics)                    Gold (x2)                Athens 2004
Duncan Goodhew (swimming)   Gold                         Moscow 1980
Daley Thompson (decathlon)     Gold                         Moscow 1980
                                                                                 Gold                         Los Angeles 1984
Lynn Davies (long jump)                 Gold                         Tokyo 1964
Sean Kerly (hockey)                           Gold                         Seoul 1988
Jimmy Kirkwood (hockey)              Gold                         Seoul 1988
Stephen Martin (hockey)               Gold                         Seoul 1988
Hugh Russell (boxing)                       Bronze                    Moscow 1980
Alan Campbell (rowing)                                    Bronze                    London 2012
Adrian Moorhouse (Swimming)                   Gold                         Seoul 1988

  • Dame Mary Peters won one of Great Britain’s four gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics.  The other 3 were in three day eventing and sailing.