Stoke Mandeville Paralympic events to light up schools

editorial image

Stoke Mandeville’s role as the first ever international element in a Paralympic torch relay in March will include a theatre production and a school roadshow.

The flame lighting ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and additional community events will take place every two years to fall in line with the winter and summer Paralympics.

Legacy director Ian Barham confirmed that a gala performance at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, one of a number of community celebrations across the town, will tell the story of the Paralympic movement and highlight Anglo-Russian cultural connections.

Mr Barham said: “There will also be a school road-show where we will take the Paralympic torch to inspire children ahead of the flame lighting.

“It is about celebrating Stoke Mandeville and the birth and growth of their involvement.

“It will be a televisual event but we want to make sure the people of Aylesbury can all be involved with the celebrations.”

Bradley Hemmings, creative director of the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony, has designed a unique concept for Stoke Mandeville as it attracts an international television audience.

A 6m astronomical globe – which will be re-used at future events – will be powered by a single wheelchair user to create a spark to light the flame.

Cabinet member for leisure Howard Mordue said: “Bradley is immaculate in his approach to create spectacular designs and to capture the audience’s imagination.”

The total cost of the celebrations, shortly before the Sochi Winter Paralympics, is estimated to be £405,000, £358,000 of which is provided by grants and sponsorships such as a £155,000 Arts Council contribution.

The remaining £47,000 will be paid by the district council to help cover the flame ceremony and gala performance but is estimated to be worth £700,000 to the Vale economy.