Manchester City Council in partnership with the official charity partner the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation are delighted to announce that this year, the City of Champions B Inspired Award will go to multi-award winning Irish dancing champion, James Keegan for his contribution to the development of expressive art.

The ‘City of Champions’ gala dinner is an annual event that aims to acknowledge and celebrate the success of people in the areas of sport, education and business, who are giving back to the next generation of champions.

At last year’s event the Foundation introduced the B Inspired Award that recognises and awards a hidden gem who has made an impact or contribution to the development of expressive art.

Last year grime artist Bugzy Malone received the Award, one of the most successful independent artists in the UK, with almost 250m streams and nearly 200,000 album sales to date.

This year, the 2019 B Inspired award will go to Michael Flatley’s protégée, lead dancer [in Lord of the Dance] and multi-award winning Irish dancing champion, James Keegan, who will also perform at the event. James’s achievements continue to inspire a new generation of artists.

Commenting on his Award, James said: “I’m so honoured and humbled to receive the B inspired award. I’m extremely proud to be from Manchester and so for the city to recognise my achievement is truly amazing. Thank you Manchester!”

Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The City of Champions ceremony is a night where we celebrate some of the many inspirational figures who have emerged from our diverse and vibrant city in sports, the arts and in business.  As we continue to invest in world-class sport and leisure facilities to give Manchester residents the opportunity to pursue their dreams, we also pay tribute to the individuals who stand out as champions for our young people to look to as examples that anything is possible.” 

Co-founder and CEO of DMSF, the official charity partner of the event, Diane Modahl, said:James’ energy and presence is compelling – he was the youngest ever lead in the history of Lord of the Dance and won all of the major titles in Irish dance, culminating in 2000 when he completed the ‘Grand Slam’ by winning every title in the same year.

At a young age he faced a life-changing decision [at the time he was considering life as a professional footballer whilst making a name for himself in the Irish dance sphere] and this decision determined his future career path. James’ dedication is inspirational. Life decisions can be tough to make but it’s important to remember that you have the power to make the right ones, and this is a message we want to pass on to our young people.”

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 City of Champions Gala Dinner, which will take place on Thursday 31 October, 6.30pm at The Hilton Deansgate, Manchester.

The Gala Dinner is an important fundraiser for the official charity partner the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF). The proceeds will directly support young people and their families living and growing up within the top 20% areas of deprivation, DMSF use sport as a vehicle for change to build character and develop behaviours that are ultimately transferable throughout their whole lives.

Tickets are expected to sell fast! For more information on table and fantastic brand opportunities please contact penni@connectin.co.uk.