Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Paralympic flame sets off from Stoke Mandeville
THE Paralympics came home this evening as the Games’ flame was lit in Stoke Mandeville.
The Buckinghamshire town is considered the birthplace of the Games thanks to the pioneering work of Sir Ludwig Guttman at what is now the national Spinal Injuries Clinic.
He encouraged people with spinal injuries to play competitive sport as part of their recovery, and out of that came the first Paralympic Games.
They took place the same day as the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympic Games the last time London hosted the event, and with the British capital once again holding the greatest show on earth, organisers felt Stoke Mandeville was the perfect place for tonight’s flame lighting ceremony.
Four national flames – lit in each of the United Kingdom’s capital cities – came together to create a large one from which the official Paralympic torch was lit at the start of the final leg of the journey from Bucks to the Olympic Stadium.
More than 2,700 people packed into the grounds of the stadium for the ceremony, with many guests of county schools, community organisations and disability sports clubs.
And everyone agreed the evening’s entertainment – which included appearances from Buckinghamshire youngsters – was a fitting way to launch the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Amanda Hart from Great Missenden said: “It was great, we really enjoyed it and we had fantastic weather – it didn’t rain.”
Friend Christine Campbell, from Aylesbury, said: “I spent many summers here when I was younger playing sport so it was a really proud moment for me.”
Both got tickets for tonight’s ceremony through the gym at the stadium, which they both attend. They will be going to the Olympic Stadium to watch cycling, swimming and athletics events.
Rob and Jean Redden came down from Loughborough in Leicestershire to attend the ceremony.
Mr Redden said: “I thought it was brilliant. It was good to see so many youngsters and old people – everyone from all over the spectrum. It brings it all together.
“My favourite bit? It’s got to be the lighting of the flame. The amount of people, especially the kids, made it better.”
The torch – which, like its Olympic counterpart, is being carried on its way by a relay team – is now en route to London on a 24 hour journey in time for tomorrow night’s opening ceremony.
What did you think of tonight's flame lighting ceremony? Leave your comments below.
Comments are closed on this article.