Giant cauldrons will be lit on the four highest peaks in Britain to mark the start of the Paralympic torch relay. Organisers today unveiled plans for the 24-hour relay which is significantly smaller than the procession which preceded the larger Olympic Games.
However officials insist it will nonetheless be a dramatic start to the Paralympics which kicks off in a little under two weeks’ time.
Celebrations will begin on 22 August when groups of Scouts will simultaneously climb Ben Nevis, Snowden, Scafell Pike and Slieve Donard to light four giant cauldrons using a spark from a metal rod struck against a rough surface. Flames for each of the cauldrons will then be placed in a miner’s lamp and transferred to Britain’s four capital cities.
The flames will then be united at Stoke Mandeville – where the concept of a Paralympian was first born – before heading on to London for the start of a one day relay on 28 August. In total a team of 580 torchbearers will carry the silver Paralympic torch over 92 miles in a route that will cover each of the six Olympic boroughs as well as a number of London landmarks including the Lord’s Cricket Ground, Piccadilly Circus and the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing made famous by the Beatles.
Torch bearers were selected through public nomination campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s, as well as the British Paralympic Association, the International Paralympic Committee and other London 2012 sponsors.
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: “We have created a unique identity for the Paralympic Torch Relay which will be a celebration of courage, determination, inspiration and equality that every Paralympian represents. By creating the four Flames through human endeavour at the four highest peaks in the UK we will ensure that the spirit of each home nation is represented in the Paralympic Flame.”