The Millennium Stadium’s Community Events scheme has welcomed hundreds of children to enjoy Cardiff’s iconic venue for the launch of the UnLtd Sport Relief awards programme ‘Make It Happen’ – and a host of the nation’s sporting icons turned out to show their support.

The multi-event arena filled with over 20 sporting projects ranging from football and boxing to the playground-favourite space hopper racing, as Stadium bosses encouraged charitable organisations to bring their events to the national stadium free of charge.

The first pilot of the £1.9m UnLtd Sport Relief has provided support to over 500 projects which encourage young people to become proactive citizens in their communities and combat social problems like knife crime and racial tension through sport and recreation.

Chief Executive of UnLtd Cliff Prior said: “UnLtd Sport Relief awards programme is targeted at teenagers who want to create their own sport or recreation projects to benefit their community.

“With a mixture of cash and development support we can make this happen in communities all over the UK and those involved can learn from each other while also benefitting from some expert help as well.”

And there was a host of expert help on hand at the Millennium Stadium as superstars plying their trade in Wales from all over the world joined together to help support this charitable cause.

Cardiff City striker Michael Chopra and midfielder Stephen McPhail joined Aussie trio Adam Peek, Tony Duggan and Darren Mapp from the Celtic Crusaders and selected members of Team Calzaghe to demonstrate the importance that sport can play in the lives of the young people involved.

Irish-born McPhail said: “This event shows what youngsters are all about. Young people have started to realise what they our on this earth for and try to live their lives properly without getting get dragged down by the negative things that surround them. Sport plays a huge part and events like this are always important to help these children reach their potential.”

Stadium Venue Sales Manager Alex Luff was delighted to welcome these children and the support of Wales’s sporting greats for an unforgettable experience at the home of Welsh sport.

“Our Community Events programme is a great opportunity for charitable organisations all over Wales to enjoy their national stadium facilities without the costs that commercial events here incur.

“It’s fantastic to see all the children that have made a positive contribution to their communities through their sporting talent and dedication enjoying the day without the worry of the weather under our Stadium roof.”

Labour MP for Cardiff West Kevin Brennan is delighted that the Millennium Stadium has allowed the children to showcase their talents on the field of so many sports stars’ dreams.

“A big thanks must go to the Millennium Stadium for providing this opportunity which really means something to these children setting up their own youth projects all over the UK,” said the Labour MP.

“Walking out onto the field of champions has been inspirational to these children and the energy, enthusiasm and passion they have demonstrated has been astounding. We are very grateful to the Milllennium Stadium for this opportunity.”

Special guests at the event each shared fond memories of the Millennium Stadium, which reached its 10th anniversary in June this year.

Former Barnsley’s McPhail reminisced with football enthusiasts about the victory over Swansea in the League 1 Playoff on Saturday 27 May 2006: “I have great memories of playing here,” he said. “This is an amazing stadium.”