Hundreds of people stood in awe tonight as they witnessed the forging of the Paralympic flame at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
Audiences young and old, fully able and disabled, shouted excitedly in support as they experienced the once-in-a-lifetime unification of the national flames from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games before it set off on its journey down to London for the games tomorrow.
Sir Philip Craven, former Paralympian and president of the International Paralympic Committee, described the event as a tribute to the founder of the Paralympics, Sir Ludwig Guttmann.
He said: “What Sir Ludwig Guttmann created here was truly inspirational.
“The Paralympic Games started here, at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, on this track before us, which was then a piece of grass. Just remember – this is where it all started.”
Sir Seb Coe, chair of LOCOG added that it is as a result of Sir Guttmann’s ‘drive, will and passion’ that created the Games as we know them today – the second biggest sporting event in the world.