Four Paralympic flames, which were kindled on the four highest peaks of the UK last week, have been united ahead of a 24-hour Torch Relay that will end at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The flames were brought together in a celebration cauldron on stage at Stoke Mandeville – the spiritual home of the Paralympics – on Tuesday evening before the start of a 148-kilometres relay during which 580 Torchbearers will carry the flame, all working in teams of five.
On arrival in London, the Paralympic Flame will visit iconic London landmarks including Lord’s Cricket Ground, London Zoo, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge and City Hall, before reaching the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony.
Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “It is fitting that the four national flames are brought together to create the Paralympic Flame at Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. The Torch Relay will further raise awareness levels of the Paralympic Games to new levels, whilst also recognising and celebrating the roots and history of the Paralympic Movement.”
The Paralympic Torch Relay follows the hugely successful Olympic Torch Relay, which saw more than 13 million people line the streets of the UK to show their support for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Over the course of the 70-day relay, the Olympic Torch visited over 1,000 communities on an 12.900-kilometres journey around the British Isles and was carried by more than 8,000 inspirational Torchbearers.