- Four communities in the North West are set to host Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Relay
- Each community to host part of their nations Flame
- Over 3500 people nominated to be Torchbearers in campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s
To mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced the communities across the UK that will hold Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.
In the North West, celebrations will be held in Manchester, Preston, Knowsley and Ellesmere Port with each of the events showcasing and celebrating Paralympic sports and cultural activity.
Four Flames will be lit as part of a new concept for the Paralympic Torch Relay, one each in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Each nation will also host events celebrating the Flame Lightings. The four Flames will be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame. This Flame will be carried on a 24 hour overnight Relay to London and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
Director of Paralympic Integration, Chris Holmes, said: “We are thrilled that these communities across the North West will play host to Flame Celebrations. This new concept will involve people from all around the UK in the spirit of the Paralympic Movement in unique ways relevant to their area. I know that people across the North West will get involved in these celebrations and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”
A total of 34 communities around the UK have taken the opportunity to host Flame Celebrations as part of the programme of events that will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Each community will send a Flame Ambassador to one of the four national Lighting events to take part of the Flame back to the Flame Celebration in their area. In the North West these Ambassadors are still to be determined.
Every celebration will be unique and have a flavour of the local community, but each will feature part of the nation’s flame and will have the Paralympic values at its core. Whilst specific details are being developed for each of the events just some of the detail for each area is as follows:
• In Manchester the celebration will be city centre focussed and will aim to showcase Paralympic sport to the masses through broadcasting, live links to Paralympic sporting events and will celebrate the Paralympic training camps that are based in the City for the Games and their particular sports. There will also be an opportunity for people to take part on ‘taster sessions’ and to see the professionals demonstrating their sports.
• In Preston, the celebration will be linked to the prestigious Preston Guild programme and will be a high-profile civic event which will highlight the city’s commitment to Paralympic sport by recognising those who have achieved in Paralympic sport, as well as those who take part in disability sport through the various sporting groups located in and around the City.
• In Knowsley a series of activities and events are taking place in the run up to the Games to promote and celebrate Paralympic sport and cultural activity. The flames arrival, at Kirkby Sports College, will trigger a welcoming ceremony and a community event that will celebrate those individuals, groups and local Paralympic athletes involved in Paralympic sport, will showcase disability sports and encourage people to ‘have a go’ and will celebrate the international training camps as they leave Knowsley for London 2012.
• In Ellesmere Port the celebrations will demonstrate inclusivity, achievement and endeavour in the field of sport art and music. A single celebration is planned to welcome the flame with the opportunity for it to visit other sites in the area across the day. The event will include demonstrations of Paralympic Sports and will include Dance and music showcases linking culture and sport.
Andy Worthington, Chair of the North West Steering Group for the 2012 Games, said: “I am extremely proud that areas right across the region are hosting an event to celebrate the Paralympic Games as it just demonstrates our commitment to promoting sport for all in the North West.
We want to ensure the Games taking place this summer are inclusive and all encompassing and these events will make a great contribution to showcasing Paralympic Sport right across the region and giving people who may feel disconnected from taking part in sport, the opportunity and inspiration to try certain sports for the first time.
I’m now really looking forward to seeing the plans for each of the celebration events coming together and I’m sure they will as a whole leave a lasting legacy for the people of the North West and many ‘memories that matter’ for years to come.”
On Tuesday 28th August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by teams of inspirational Torchbearers, in a 24 hour overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The 620 Torchbearers, who will also carry the Flame during Flame Festivals, are being chosen by the three Presenting Partners, BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s. There were over 3500 nominations from across the country and they are now going through their selection processes before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The relay will also include nominations from the British Paralympic Association, the International Paralympic Committee and other London 2012 sponsors.
People will also be encouraged to help light the way to the Paralympic Games by lighting a lantern. For more information visit www.london2012.com/get-involved/local-leaders/lantern-festival/