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City of Liverpool, represented by entertainment, sport icons, is 'godparent' of Queen Anne

The five icons: Spice Girl and author Melanie C; broadcaster and community leader Ngunan Adamu; local restaurant entrepreneur Natalie Haywood; Liverpool music and cultural legend Jayne Casey; British Olympian heptathlon athlete Katarina Johnson-Thomson.
Liverpool is Queen Anne’s 'godparent,' with five Liverpudlian entertainment and sport icons chosen to represent the city at the ship’s naming this afternoon.

The vessel sailed into Liverpool for the first time this morning in preparation for the festivities. 

Five female icons 

Chosen for their significant contributions to culture at a local, national or international level, the five icons are: Spice Girl and author Melanie C, broadcaster and community leader Ngunan Adamu, restaurant entrepreneur Natalie Haywood, music and cultural legend Jayne Casey and British Olympian heptathlon athlete Katarina Johnson-Thomson. 

Melanie C has supported numerous charitable causes, including those related to children, cancer research, and LGBTQ+ rights. She has been involved with organisations like the Teenage Cancer Trust, Nordoff Robbins, Action Aid and Shelter. 

Johnson-Thompson holds numerous records and titles. She is the founder of the Katarina Johnson-Thompson Academy, which provides support to aspiring athletes from state-school and diverse ethnic communities to access opportunities and, in conjunction with Liverpool FC Foundation, delivers an accessible community athletics programme providing children from disadvantaged areas access to sport and physical activity without financial restrictions.  

Adamu is a producer, presenter, and international multimedia trainer with over 15 years of experience at the BBC. She currently leads ‘UK Black’ in the North West, a flagship show dedicated to amplifying the voices and narratives of the African Caribbean community. Adamu is also an entrepreneur and community advocate. As the founder and CEO of iWoman Media Ltd, she drives initiatives that promote diversity and empowerment in media. Her work spans women's empowerment, entertainment, exploration and more.

Haywood is the founder and MD of the LEAF Group of companies based in Liverpool. The company, whose ethos is ‘Where There’s Tea There’s Hope,' has 180 employees and promotes working with local suppliers and partners across the Liverpool City Region. 

Known for her support of black music and culture, Casey manages a live music venue and has played a pivotal role in the city's creative community for over two decades. As a former member of 1970s punk band Big in Japan, she performed with Ian Broudie and Holly Johnson. In the 1990s, she co-founded the successful nightclub empire, Cream. Casey also co-produced the opening ceremony for Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture and served as its artistic director. 

An ‘enduring relationship’  

‘Liverpool is the spiritual home of Cunard, and we are therefore delighted and feel it very fitting that the City of Liverpool is the godparent to Queen Anne,’ Cunard President Katie McAlister stated. ‘It’s testament to the enduring relationship that connects Cunard and the city in which it was founded to the present day when we officially named our new ship on the Liverpool Waterfront, in front of the Cunard Building.’ 

She continued, ‘We are equally delighted to have our five chosen Liverpool icons represent the city in the ceremony. All remarkable in their own right, they have inspired generations and collectively capture the essence of the city that has shaped global culture.’  

Celebrations in Liverpool

The proceeedings, hosted by Matt and Emma Willis, were to open with a performance by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. 

The icons are joined by McAlister and Capt. Inger Klein Thorhauge for the ceremony, where they will officially introduce the vessel to its spiritual home, continuing the seafaring tradition by smashing a bottle of champagne against the 249th ship to carry the Cunard name.

Operatic superstar Andrea Bocelli will round off the festivities with a performance that includes his celebrated song 'Time to Say Goodbye'.   

Andrew Lewis, chief executive of Liverpool City Council, said, ‘It’s an incredible honour for the City of Liverpool to be chosen as the godparent of Queen Anne. This city shares a treasured bond with Cunard dating back to 1839 when we were the original home of the world-famous line.’ He described the naming ceremony as a ‘magnificent showpiece’ casting Liverpool into the limelight once again. ‘We are so proud to be forever entwined with Queen Anne as she sails the world. We will always cherish our long-standing relationship with Cunard,’ he concluded. 

TAGS: Cunard