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Stoke Mandeville to be included on future Paralympic Games torch relays
STOKE Mandeville will be involved in all future Paralympic Games torch relays, the International Paralympic Committee confirmed today.
The torch will be back in Buckinghamshire in March as part of a 46 city tour ahead of the eleventh Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The birthplace of the Paralympic movement will be first and only destination outside of the host nation to feature in the relay.
The announcement was made this morning as the IPC President Sir Philip Craven unveiled a five metre high Agitos - the symbol of the Paralympics - at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
He said: “The torch relay is a significant event in the staging of every Paralympics and it is fitting that for each future edition of the games we celebrate Stoke Mandeville’s rich history and proud heritage as the Paralympic Movement’s spiritual birthplace.
“By always hosting a leg of the Paralympic torch relay we are ensuring that the role of Sir Ludwig Guttmann and Stoke Mandeville in helping to create the foundations for what is now one of the world’s biggest sporting events is communicated around the world and never forgotten.”
A Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place on March 1 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and it will visit landmarks around the county before a Flame Celebration sends it on its way to Russia.
Tim Reddish, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, said: “At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the whole nation showed what huge support there is for the Paralympic movement in this country.
“I’m sure some of that reflects the pride we feel that the birthplace of the Paralympic movement is acknowledged to be here at Stoke Mandeville.
“It is fitting therefore that this will be recognised in all future Paralympic Games through the Heritage Flame.
“Whilst the Sochi Flame celebrations here will be a pilot and therefore smaller in scale, we are all tremendously excited that this concept will be taking place and would like to thank the IPC, and partners here in Buckinghamshire for their enthusiasm and support for this project.”
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