Turin hands over the keys of Eurovision to Liverpool in grand ceremony
Video report by Victoria Grimes
The official keys of the Eurovision Song Contest have been handed from the previous host city Turin to Liverpool, in a grand ceremony.
The Mayor of Turin, Stefano Lo Russo and the mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson sealed the handover with a handshake.
The international music show will take place at the 11,000-capacity Liverpool Arena in May, culminating in the grand final on Saturday 13, after the city was chosen to host the competition on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine.
Lo Russo said to Anderson: “A little bit of advice – enjoy the event, include everybody, engage the whole city, be proud for such an incredible international stage for you, for Ukraine and for peace.”
She thanked him for his kind words, adding: “For me, it started on Sunday when we met and you talked all the wonderful impact that Eurovision has on your city.
“I’m really proud to be able to host Eurovision for Liverpool but especially proud to do it on behalf of Ukraine.”
Liverpool is a 'warm and welcoming' place to host Eurovision say the students helping in the hand back ceremony.
Pupils the Academy of Saint Francis of Assisi are some of the selected few to taking part in the Eurovision handover ceremony.
Alongside Ukrainian refugees who have settled in the city, they have helped in the allocation draw and confirm which semi-final the so-called "big five" countries and Ukraine will vote in.
Before the ceremony Chenelle, 14, said: “I’m super excited... it’s not like walking to the corner shop, it’s a big thing.”
For many of them, it is no surprise that Liverpool is playing host, describing the city as one that's full of music and culture.
“I think there’s a lot to be told of Liverpool that people don’t actually know", Bilal, 16, said.
"People just think of what they see in the newspapers but there’s actually a lot about Liverpool, for the good not just for the bad."
The school itself celebrates diversity which is why these young volunteers think it is a good representation of the host city.
Niota, who is 15, said: “In this school, there are 52 languages. I think Eurovision really highlights Liverpool and Liverpool is welcoming.
"I feel like most people when they watch the Eurovision a lot of people are going to be representing Liverpool It’s really uniting by music which is the theme as well.
“People think of just the stereotypes of Liverpool, but really it’s very welcoming and warm. You can’t go in Liverpool and not hear your tongue. It’s just that diverse.”
The theme of the song contest is 'United by Music'. The artwork showing hearts beating together in the colours of the Ukrainian and UK flags.
It is hard for everyone involved to forget the reason why Liverpool has taken the helm.
The city has accepted hundreds of refugees, some of who will also be helping in the ceremony.
Niota said: “I think [it's] one thing to remember that we are standing in solidarity with Ukraine and that we are standing with Ukraine in this time. It’s an honour for them to be able to host it in our city. But also for them to know we are here with them side by side."
Some of these Ukrainian refugees have also become classmates to these pupils and for them, it's more than the music.
“We just want to make them proud," said Bilal.
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