The Paralympic flame for next year’s games in London will be created in a ceremony in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, 2012 organisers have announced.
It will be created from four separate flames lit in the capital cities of the UK – London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff – and then brought to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Centre for Disability Sport, in Buckinghamshire.
Following the ceremony in Stoke Mandeville, a 24-hour relay will take the torch to Stratford in east London for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics on 29 August 2012.
The 2012 organising committee, LOCOG, said that 580 torchbearers – working in teams of five – would carry the Paralympic flame to the stadium to light the cauldron. Details of how torchbearers will be selected will be announced later.
Martin McElhatton, chief executive of the national wheelchair sports charity WheelPower, which owns Stoke Mandeville Stadium, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming home the Paralympic movement for the Paralympic torch relay.
“The London 2012 games provide us with the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Britain’s proud heritage as the birthplace of Paralympic sport and use the power of the games and the uniting of the flame as a symbol to inspire disabled people throughout the world to transform their lives through sport.”
The programme will begin on Friday 24 August with the first flame lighting event, in London.
Over the bank holiday weekend, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff will host similar events and evening Paralympic Flame Festivals – which will include “flame-themed entertainment” – with a fourth festival taking place in Stoke Mandeville on 28 August.
Each of the four locations will devise its own way of lighting its flame, using “the energy of physical human endeavour”, with the flame then touring community groups and “key locations” in and around the city.
Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, said: “The torch relay will take the Paralympics to each home nation, helping to build excitement for the games and awareness of disability sport. This is our chance to welcome home the Paralympic movement.”
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com