Paralympic Flame celebrations light up Suffolk
Suffolk is gearing up to welcome the Paralympic Flame as it makes it’s way into the county for a bank holiday weekend of celebration and entertainment.
The Flame is part of the National Flame created on the summit of Scafell Pike on 22ndAugust by a group of Scouts who used a ferrocerium rod to strike against a rough steel surface to create the sparks.
It was collected by local Needham Market artist Amy Nettleton during a special ceremony at Trafalgar Square in London and transported back to Suffolk in a miner’s lantern.
A key event in the flame’s tour of Suffolk is a visit to Needham Market on Friday 24 August, where it will be part of an afternoon festival of free entertainment and sport at the town’s lake. At 7:30pm, the flame will take part in a lantern procession around the town, led by Suffolk Paralympic athlete Brian Alldis, and then a spectacular fire work display back at the lake. The lantern procession will be accompanied by performers from the Suffolk School of Samba and Suffolk-based wheelie bin drumming group Junk Funk.
On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August, the flame will visit six disability sports events across the county, including:
Suffolk Spartans Powerlifting Club at East Bergholt Sports Centre - A celebration of the club’s achievements over the last 5 years, powerlifting taster sessions and mini competition showcasing members of the club. (Sat 25 Aug, 09.30 – 13:00)
- East Anglian Sailing Trust at Levington Marina - Open day and sailing taster sessions. (Sat 25 Aug, 10:00 – 14:00).
- Active Waveney Disability Sport Forum at Water Lane Sports Centre, Lowestoft - A multi-sport taster event. (Sat 25 Aug, 13:00 – 17:00).
- Ipswich Disability Sport Forum at Northgate Sports Centre, Ipswich - A multi-sport taster event. (Sun 26 Aug, 09.30 – 12:00).
- Exning Wheelchair Tennis Club in Exning – A wheelchair tennis demonstration. (Sun 26 Aug, 11:00 – 15:00).
- Abbeycroft Leisure at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre - A multi-sport taster event. (Sun 26 Aug, 13:00 – 16:00).
On the evening of Saturday 25 August, the flame will travel east to Snape Maltings – where it will take pride of place on the stage at a concert performed by the British Paraorchestra– the UK’s first orchestra made up entirely of disabled musicians. As at all of the Suffolk events, people attending this ticketed concert will have the opportunity to have their photograph taken with the flame.
The flame will move west again on Monday 27 August, where it will be on display at the Suffolk Lap of Honour exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. The free exhibition celebrates Suffolk’s Olympic and Paralympic heritage.
Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for sport and the Paralympics, said:
“Excitement is certainly building for the Paralympics with Suffolk, like the rest of the UK, currently in the grip of London 2012 fever.
“It might not be that well know but Team GB came second in the medal table at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games– scooping 42 golds in their impressive 102 medal haul.
“Suffolk is sending two Paralympians to the Games and hosting the flame over four days of exciting activities taking place across the county– so I am confident that communities will join in the celebrations and will get behind Team GB over the coming weeks.”