Leeds set to celebrate the Paralympic Torch Relay
Published on: 29th February 2012
To mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced that Leeds will hold ‘Flame Celebrations’ as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay.
To celebrate the Paralympic Flame arriving in Leeds, Leeds City Council will be holding a Disability Sports Festival on Saturday 25 August.
People with disabilities from across the city will be invited to a Paralympic sports taster event at the John Charles Centre for Sport, where they will also have a chance to see the flame for themselves.
The event will tie in with a wheelchair and visually impaired tennis competition, taking place in the tennis centre as part of the Yorkshire County tennis championships that same weekend.
Councillor Jack Dunn, deputy executive member for leisure, said:
“Hosting the Paralympic flame is a great honour for Leeds, and recognition of the commitment we have to providing good quality disability sports in our city. We are very proud to have already achieved the Inspired by London 2012 mark for six of our disability sports projects.
“The Paralympic taster event will create a celebration of disability sport in the city and region, as well as being a great opportunity for people to try out some Paralympic sports.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the flame to Leeds and being part of something which will be inspirational to people across the world.”
The event will be run by the Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel, which itself is one of the projects the council received an Inspire Mark for. The panel will also work with Yorkshire Gold and LOCOG to create a special moment to celebrate the flame’s arrival at the event.
The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In Leeds the projects which have been awarded an Inspire mark are:
- Disability & Wheelchair tennis coaching
- Leeds Wheelchair Racing
- Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel
- Leeds Disability Sports Camps
- “Everyone for Tennis”- Inclusive Tennis Festivals
- Leeds Inspirational Disability School Sport 2012
The Paralympic sports taster day will be open to all disabled children, young people and adults (plus parents and carers). The tennis event is open for anyone to view.
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 on 29 August.
A total of 34 communities around the country have taken the opportunity to host Flame Celebrations and be part of the programme of events that will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, Chris Holmes, said:
“We are thrilled to announce that Leeds will play host to a Flame Celebration. This new concept will involve people from all around the UK in the spirit of the Paralympic Movement in unique ways relevant to the area. I know that people from Leeds will get involved in this celebration and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”
On Tuesday 28 August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried Torchbearers, running in teams of five, 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 inspirational Torchbearers, who will also carry the Flame during local community visits, 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 judging before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The relay will also include nominations from the British Paralympic Association and the International Paralympic Committee.
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/