Paralympic Flame Comes To Suffolk

Needham Market is one of 34 communities across the country that will host Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.

To mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced that Needham Market will hold Flame Celebrations as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay. 

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. Amy Nettledon, a local artist, will act as Flame Ambassador and attend one of the four Flame Lighting events and take part of the Flame back to the Flame Celebration in Needham Market.

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. 

Cllr Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder for Sport, Culture, Diversity, Health and Wellbeing said "It is fantastic news that Suffolk has been chosen to host a Paralympic Flame Celebration. We are very excited at the prospect of bringing a piece of the Paralympic Flame to the county, being an official part of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and celebrating the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality. 2012 is already an amazing year for Suffolk with so many Games inspired events including the Olympic Torch Relay coming to the county but this news really does put the icing on the cake". 

Town Mayor Martin Spurling said: "The celebration is a great opportunity for the town to get close to the heart of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and I am confident that it will be a grand celebration". 

Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, Chris Holmes, said: "We are thrilled to announce that Needham Market 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 Needham Market will get involved in this celebration and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK." 

On Tuesday 28th August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by 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. 

There were more than 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/  

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