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Bid begins to light Paralympic torch at Stoke Mandeville before every games
A CAMPAIGN for the Paralympic flame to be lit at Stoke Mandeville before the beginning of every games has been backed by a council.
A motion put forward by Councillor Paula Lee to petition MPs and the International Paralympic Association about a regular ceremony was agreed by Wycombe District Council at Full Council.
WDC’s move adds momentum to the campaign after a similar motion was agreed by Buckinghamshire County Council in September.
Cllr Lee told the meeting how her great aunt had served at the hospital in 1945 ahead of the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, which were held for Second World War veterans and patients with spinal injuries - it was the brain child of German-born Dr Ludwig Guttmann.
She said: "My aunt recalled that most doctors disapproved of Dr Guttmann’s methods...This year, the Paralympics became an equal to the Olympics with packed stadiums.
"This country and the county should be proud and we need to commemorate the work started by Dr Guttmann."
The motion was backed by every councillor, including Cllr Brian Pollock who stood up and put on his purple and orange baseball hat from the Gamesmaker uniform he wore at Dorney during the summer games.
He said: "This would recognise Dr Guttmann and highlight the fact the Paralympics was pioneered in the UK and in Buckinghamshire. I take my hat off to them."
WDC will write to MPs to urge the Government to recognise the special status of Stoke Mandeville Hospital and to push the IPA for the lighting ceremony to be held there before every summer and winter games.
A special one-off cauldron lighting and torch relay was held at the hospital for the London 2012 Paralympics.
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