It arrived by cavalry escort and departed on Monday after a fairy-tale stop – the Poznan leg of the UEFA EURO 2012 Follow the Trophy tour was a gallop from beginning to end.
It got off to a flying start on Saturday as the Henri Delaunay Cup was paraded before a sizeable crowd at the Town Hall. "It's a beautiful day for our city," said Ryszard Grobelny, the mayor of Poznan. "We're down to our final preparations, and many events related to the finals are already under way. They've brought a lot of joy and the best is yet to come. We're ready."
Indeed, with 39 days to go before the tournament kicks off in Warsaw, Poland and Ukraine are on the home straight. In just over five weeks, the best of Europe will arrive at the start gate ahead of a race for the Henri Delaunay Cup – little wonder, then, that the trophy was greeted throughout its tour of Poznan with cheers. Everybody wanted to see what, for the 16 competing teams this summer, will be the object of their dreams.
Many did, as it rode off from the Old Market Square flanked by the cavalry. It stopped at the city's children's hospital, a welcome attraction and distraction for the young patients, before trotting on to the orphanage and giving the youngsters there a day to remember. "The children's smiles are priceless," said UEFA EURO 2012 ambassador Andrzej Szarmach.
"You have to give pleasure to these children, they need it most," he added. "
We are trying to promote not only competition, but noble ideas." It was a day with a youthful complexion. It had a fairy-tale ending, too, as en route to the Municipal Stadium Poznan it made one more stop at the Town Hall where Polish actress Katarzyna Bujakiewicz read the book 'Ball, Fairy story, Goal!' to a group of children.
The tour set up camp at Liberty Square, where it became the focus of attention amid the picturesque surroundings with people queuing for the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy, and to enter competitions with pedigree prizes. "Our city is ready," said former Poland defender Bartosz Bosacki. "The final countdown has begun."
Next stop: Wroclaw
The roadshow, which began in Warsaw on 20 April, now rolls on to its fourth stop in Wroclaw. It will set up camp at Market Square, where it opens on 4 May for three days before moving on again. It will visit 14 cities across the two co-host countries of UEFA EURO 2012 before finishing on the Black Sea coast at Odesa on 26 May.
Do not forget that visitors to the UEFA EURO 2012 Follow the Trophy tour can download their photos free of charge. Just enter your photo code to download your picture and share it with friends. Even if you do not make it to an event you can star in your own unique movie which you can share via email or Facebook.
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