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Team Jamaica's farewell concert goes down a storm

TOP FORM: UK singer, Beverley Knight

A SELL-OUT cultural extravaganza raised the roof at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall as thousands enjoyed a night of ‘edutainment’ about Jamaican culture, along with a chance to cheer on Jamaica’s Olympic team.

There was even an announcement that Asafa Powell was going to share the stage with Musical Youth’s Dennis Seaton to sing a James Brown number, but the Olympic athlete was whisked away in his team coach before he got the chance.

Around 17 of the 75-strong Olympic team came on stage for Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines to present team manager Ludlow Watts with a silver baton specially made in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

Watts thanked Birmingham for being “the best hosts in the whole of the UK” and added that when Jamaica did well, Birmingham would be part of their success.

CROWD PLEASER: Dennis Seaton of Musical Youth

ENTERTAINED: Asafa Powell and team members on stage

“We’ve had the most fantastic time. Thank you to the University of Birmingham for making us so welcome,” said Watts. “When you see us next it will be on the podium in London.”

The event was organised by the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham) UK in association with Birmingham City Council, the Jamaican High Commission and the Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). Proceeds from the event will be donated to the JAAA for sports development in Jamaica.

Beverly Lindsay, who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals, said: “The event gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase all that is positive under the global umbrella that is now ‘brand Jamaica.’

TOP MARKS: Lord Mayor Councillor John Lines presents Ludlow Watts with a silver baton made in Birmingham

“It was also a fundraiser for the JAAA to make sure that their legacy of excellent achievements is not lost to future generations. We must help to nurture and develop their outstanding athletic talent as they aspire to become the future stars of Jamaica.”

The evening, hosted by BBC WM presenter Joe Aldred, included soul queen Beverley Knight, Count Prince Miller, Music Youth, Jaki Graham, opera singer Abigail Kelly, poet Benjamin Zephaniah and also the comic poet Miss Culture Jam. The show’s artistic director was Junior ‘JD’ Douglas.

There was a tribute to legendary saxophonist Andy Hamilton, who died in June at the age of 94. His sons Graeme and Marked played some of his work.

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