The leader of Birmingham City Council has revealed to me a great proposal: It is to bring the Invictus Games to Birmingham in 2025.
This is very emotive for reasons I will explain after commenting that I believe this is a wonderful idea and so does BirminghamLive.
The Commonwealth Games means we have the infrastructure in place. It’s oven ready. The city would have to state its interest in hosting the Invictus Games by next June, followed by a formal bidding process.
Councillor Ian Ward and I were lunching seated next to each other in the Warwickshire Chairman’s Suite on the first day of the recent Edgbaston Test match when he bounced the idea off me, saying that he would be interested in the opinions of this website’s readers.
So please send them to me at [email protected] and we will forward your views to the council leader. You can also have your say at the bottom of this story.
READ MORE: BirminghamLive says ‘Bring the Invictus Games to Brum’
I endorse Cllr Ward’s views and ambitions, which are to bring major events to this great city (to carry on from the Commonwealth Games) and to recognise the incredible work the 400 military staff have done at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital where tens of thousands of injured soldiers have been helicoptered in from war zones.
Limbs have been amputated and life-threatening operations have saved the lives of our brave heroes – all at the QE for nearly 20 years.
The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry as an international sporting event for wounded, sick and injured servicemen and women, both serving and veterans.
The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for all those who serve their country.
The word Invictus, by the way, means unconquered and was chosen as an embodiment of the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what they can achieve post-injury.
We have the 2022 Commonwealth Games to continue the history of Birmingham staging world-class events.
But this would see more than staging top-class sport.
We would be reminding the world of the fantastic job that has been done within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – and I am positive the good people of this region will encourage Ian Ward on our behalf to continue his quest to bring top international events to Birmingham.
I have to confess, when I first came to Birmingham 50 years ago to join ATV as their new sports presenter, my first impressions of the city were awful. The 50 years have brought sensational changes in so many facets. It will only get better.
We need to add Birmingham to the Invictus Games roll call which began in London in 2014. Since then, they have been held in Orlando (2016), Toronto (2017) and Sydney (2018). The 2020 Games should have been at The Hague, but were postponed to 2022 due to the Covid pandemic. Dusseldorf will be next in 2023.
I will support this proposal in any way Birmingham sees fit.
I hope you, too, will support the leader’s ambition. The Commonwealth Games will further cement our growing reputation as great city hosts, boosting the regional economy by an estimated £1 billion. The Invictus Games would underline the wonderful spirit of this region with its top-class NHS.
If Birmingham wins this bid, I would hope that Prince Harry would attend. Now that really would be a breakthrough!