Following on from the success of the Olympic Torch Relay, the relay for the Paralympic flame starts on 22nd August. In a change to the traditional relay, communities will see the creation of four National Flames which will represent the home nations of the Olympic Hosts; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and it will be these four separate flames that will unite to form the single Paralympic Flame.
As with the Olympic Relay communities are invited to get involved and to light a lantern to illuminate the way to the games. There are events planned in communities right across the United Kingdom to show support for the torchbearers that will be carrying the torch throughout the 24 hour relay which will travel from Stoke Mandeville to London.
Creating the Four Flames
In a feat that can only be described as a success of human endeavour and incredible teamwork, scout groups from across the whole of the United Kingdom made up of disabled and able bodied members, will scale the highest peak in each of the four nations that make up the UK. The peaks in question are; Scarfell Pike – England, Slieve Donard – Northern Ireland; Ben Nevis – Scotland and Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa – Wales. Once at the summit the scouts will ignite a flame using the sparks created by the traditional method of striking flints together. These newly created flames will then be set inside traditional miner’s lanterns and transported to the capital city of each nation, their arrival will mark 24 hours of celebration dedicated to the Paralympics.
Flame Lightings and Celebrations
Every morning from the 24th to the 27th August a flame will be ignited inside a ceremonial cauldron to symbolise the arrival of each national flame within the city of London.
- Friday August 24th – Trafalgar Square, London.
- Saturday August 25th – Stormont, Belfast.
- Sunday August 26th – The Mound, Edinburgh.
- Monday August 27th – City Hall, Cardiff.
Following each of the lighting events Flame festival celebrations will be carried out throughout the evening, giving people the chance to show their support for not only the Paralympic Torch Relay but also for the Paralympians that will be attending the games.
- City Hall Flame Festival, Belfast – August 25th
- Meadowbank Stadium Flame Festival, Edinburgh – August 26th
- Roald Dahl Plass Flame Festival, Cardiff – August 27th
Each festival will conclude with a lantern parade/guard of honour through which the torchbearers will carry the flame to light the cauldron. Once lit the flames will then be transported to the home of the Paralympic Movement at Stoke Mandeville where they will be combined into the single flame of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on the 28th August in a Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony. Once lit the 24 hour torch relay will begin from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium to ignite the cauldron to mark the opening of the games.
Aside from the main flame festivals there will be events across the UK in a number of communities in recognition of the flame rituals and celebrations set to take place across the August Bank Holiday.