Paralympics: One Year On

Heart can confirm Stoke Mandeville will play a part in ALL future Paralypmic Torch relays

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have made the announcement to mark the first anniversary since the start of the 2012 Paralympic Games, in recognition that Stoke Mandeville, in Buckinghamshire is the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

The announcement came on the same day IPC President Sir Philip Craven unveiled a giant five metre high Agitos - the Paralympic Movement's symbol - at Stoke Mandeville hospital.

It was in 1948 that Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German spinal injuries doctor, created the Stoke Mandeville Games, an event that was the forerunner for the Paralympic Games that were first held in Rome, Italy in 1960.

Next year the eleventh Paralympic Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia with Stoke Mandeville to become the first place in history to be involved in the Paralympic Torch Relay outside of the Games hosting country.

Sochi's Paralympic Torch Relay will take place between 26 February and 7 March. It will visit 46 cities in all eight Russian Federal districts, as well as Stoke Mandeville - the only international component of the relay - and will involve over 1,500 torchbearers.

A Flame Lighting Ceremony will take place on 1 March at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, this will then visit several local landmarks before a Flame Celebration is held to send it on its way to Sochi.

Sir Philip Craven, IPC President 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 ahead of each Games 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."

Councillor Carl Etholen, Chairperson of the Buckinghamshire Legacy Board, said "We are delighted that Sir Phillip Craven has been able to join us for the anniversary of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Here in Buckinghamshire we are extremely proud of the role played by Stoke Mandeville in the birth of the Paralympic movement and are honoured that the International Paralympic Committee has given Stoke Mandeville the opportunity to play a special role in Paralympic flame celebrations."

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