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LONDON GOES GLOBAL ON MILLENNIUM NIGHT

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A celebration of London's rich diversity of communities with links ...
A celebration of London's rich diversity of communities with links

around the world will be at the heart of the capital's millennium eve

event. Minister for London Nick Raynsford, chairman of the steering

group, revealed today the range of activities planned and emphasised

that public safety was paramount.

Nick Raynsford said:

'London's millennium night will be an exciting mixture of spectacular

effects and on-going entertainment and fun throughout the day and

night. At the core will be a global village celebrating the arrival

of the millennium at different times around the world with our own

communities. On the day when the global spotlight will be on London,

I hope the enormous talent in our different communities will come

forward and join in. We are setting up the framework and the stage

but people bring it to life. This is an event for all Londoners and

there will be something for everyone to enjoy in safety.

'The global village will be north and south of the river between

Westminster and Blackfriars Bridges. On the Thames itself there will

be a spectacular River of Fire at the Millennium Moment, from Tower

Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge. An amazing pyrotechnic display just after

midnight will also make this a night to remember.

'Fun for all the family will be on offer at fairground sites in the

area. There will be a wide variety of rides ranging from modern

high-tech to traditional including steam-driven carousels and Big

Wheels. The fairground sites will be open all millennium weekend for

this one special occasion.

'This is only the start - we will be announcing more events in the

autumn. But I want to make it clear that in planning this event

safety has been our prime concern. This is the reason we are holding

the event - so that people have a choice of celebrating this unique

occasion over a much wider area than the traditional new year's eve

gathering places where there is very limited space. I am particularly

grateful for the hard work that the Metropolitan Police and the other

emergency services, transport operators, the boroughs near the river

and the many other London organisations concerned with different

aspects of London life have put into helping with this event. I am

confident it will be a success and that, without doubt, London - the

world's millennium city - will be the place to be on 31 December

1999.'

Assistant commissioner Ian Johnston of the Metropolitan Police said:

'The emergency services in London have unique experience in managing

large scale events. A major contribution to this success is the

meticulous planning that is carried out beforehand. We have subjected

all our procedures to tests to ensure that they will be effective in

the context of the millennium challenge. We are working in close co-

operation with the minister and his team, the event organisers, and

many other organisations which will have a key role to play on the

night. We have great confidence that we can provide a safe and secure

environment where the public can enjoy themselves at this exciting

event.'

NOTES

1 The proposed timetable for the core event is:

All day:

Fairgrounds in various spots north and south of the river

Activities in the global village

11am onwards

At different times, celebration of millennium reaching various parts

of the world starting with Australasia and ending, in the early hours

of 1 January with the Americas. Appropriate events for the millennium

moment in each global area will be planned.

around 8.30pm

British Airways' London Eye starts turning with laser and pyrotechnic

effects

10pm

Lighting effects on the eight bridges from Tower Bridge to Vauxhall

Bridge

12am

the Dome has been officially opened, Big Ben is lit up, starts

striking, and pyrotechnics begin at Greenwich

12am plus 18 seconds (the time it takes for the millennium to

reach Tower Bridge) The 'River of Fire' is lit starting at Tower

Bridge and ending at Vauxhall Bridge. The whole river will be lit

up. Followed by ...

A pause before a spectacular 15-minute firework display from barges

in the Thames.

12.30am onwards

Activities in the Global Village and fairgrounds continue as people

gradually disperse and go home after a thoroughly enjoyable night.

2 The Millennium River Event - known as Big Time - is the official

London celebration, partially funded by a grant from the millennium

commission, with the New Millennium Experience Company holding a

watching brief, and Pacesetter the appointed production house. The

management group is chaired by Michael Lockett with Harvey Goldsmith

as a key advisor. Tim Spencer of Pacesetter is responsible for

delivery of the event.

3 Core funding is provided by a grant of£1.8m from the Millennium

Commission through the Millennium Festival Fund Fund - London is one

of 22 cities in the UK receiving this funding. Other funding is

currently being sought, or is under negotiation, from a variety of

private and public sector sources.

4 Minister for London Nick Raynsford chairs a steering committee

for the event to co-ordinate the involvement of all interested

parties, including emergency services, local authorities, transport

organisations, broadcasters and other key London bodies.

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