In true Vale tradition Aylesbury’s Stoke Mandeville Stadium is set to play host to the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, in the run up to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games to be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
On Friday 2 March 2018 the Stadium will be lit up to bring Paralympic sport to the fore in a day of sporting demonstrations, talks and events.
With only 100 days to go, the organising committee including the British Paralympic Association (BPA), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC), Buckinghamshire County Council, Leap, the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Sport and Activity Partnership, and WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, are busy creating a flame lighting event which will fire-up the torch relay for the games in style.
The PyeongChang Paralympic Games Heritage Flame Lighting events in March represent the prestige, pride and passion of the Paralympic Games and puts Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire under the global spotlight. With an associated community programme, plus local, national and international visibility, the lighting of the Heritage Flame is more than a single, spectacular event – it’s the opportunity to celebrate our global Paralympic heritage.
AVDC Councillor Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The Paralympic Heritage Flame events held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to date have been world-class events which have elevated Aylesbury in the eyes of the sporting community and the world. This year’s events will continue this tradition: giving disability sport, and our Paralympians, the attention and send-off they deserve.”
The first ever sporting events for disabled people were hosted at Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury Vale by Dr Ludwig Guttmann in 1948 and, from this spark, the global Paralympic movement was born. Now, the place that started the Paralympic movement continues to be at its forefront, providing an environment that supports new and inclusive standards in sport, culture, health and education. As the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, Stoke Mandeville is also recognised as the home of the Paralympic heritage flame, and will continue to host the heritage flame lighting ceremony for all future Paralympic Games.
Photo: Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson lighting the Paralympic Heritage torch with Kelly Gallagher MBE (Paralympian alpine skier) holding the wheelbarrow at the 2016 event.