London 2012: Paralympic torchbearers announced
Games organisers have announced the first 332 people who will carry the Paralympic Flame during the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.
Paralympic flame lighting events are to be held on consecutive days in each of the UK's capital cities.
They start in London on 24 August with the four flames uniting at a special ceremony in Stoke Mandeville, home of the Paralympic movement, on 28 August.
The relay will then begin its 24-hour journey to London's opening ceremony.
The flame will be carried from the Stoke Mandeville Stadium by 580 torchbearers, working in teams of five, to the Olympic Stadium where the cauldron will be lit to herald the start of the Games on the evening of 29 August.
Some 36 communities around the UK will stage flame celebrations during the relay.
Most of the 580 Paralympic torchbearers were chosen by the British Paralympic Association or through public nomination campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury's.
Those announced on Tuesday include a team from Hackney nominated for their work coaching sports to disabled children, a team nominated for their work in disability arts and a team of parents and children connected with Stepping Stones Down Syndrome Support Group.
Locog Chairman Seb Coe said of those selected: "Whether they have been together for years or have been brought together around a common story, they have all demonstrated how they are living the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality."Flame Festivals
PARALYMPIC RELAY FACTS
- First torch relay - Seoul Olympics, 1988 with 111 disabled people among the 282 torchbearers
- The relay has been part of each Paralympics since then
- By Sydney 2000 there were 920 torchbearers and the flame was lit during an Aboriginal lighting ceremony
- In Salt Lake City 2002, Eric Weihenmeyer, the first blind man to climb Everest, carried the torch to the podium of the stadium
- For Athens 2004 the Paralympic Flame was lit in the Hephaestus Temple and 680 torchbearers took part
- Beijing 2008's flame was lit in the Temple of Heaven with 850 torchbearers carrying the torch along two routes, split between ancient and modern China
- Beijing's Paralympics in 2008 had 3,951 athletes from 146 countries
- Paralympics is short for Parallel Olympics
Edinburgh on 26 August and Cardiff on 27 August will be the next two cities before the four flames come together in Stoke Mandeville the following day, where they will be combined to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.
The English communities which have been chosen to host flame celebrations will send representatives to the opening event in London.
Once there they will each collect part of the flame in a lantern and transport it back to their home towns to be used at their individual events.
National representatives will attend the lighting ceremonies in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff and take part of the flame from their respective capital.
Flame celebrations will be staged in the following places:
North East: Beamish
North West: Manchester, Preston, Merseyside, Cheshire
East: Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire
East Midlands: Leicester
South East: Horsham, Aylesbury
South West: Bath, Plymouth, Weymouth & Portland
Yorkshire: Leeds, York, Sheffield, Beverley, Huddersfield
NORTHERN IRELAND Cookstown, Ballymena, Derry, Newry and Mourne, Carrickfergus
The torch has been given a mirrored finish so its colour adapts to its surroundings and also shines at night on the final stage of the torch relay.
London 2012 - One extraordinary year
The torch was created by London-based designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who were also behind the Olympic torch. They said it was driven by a desire to reflect modernity and innovation.
It is made from an aluminium alloy - light while being strong and heat resistant.
Cutting-edge laser technology has been used to create thousands of round perforations which will help ensure that heat from the flame is quickly dissipated without being conducted down the handle.
The holes also make the torch lighter and give it a strong texture that is easy to grip.
The colour of the mirrored-finish should mean that the teams of torchbearers will not be lost in the darkness on the overnight stretch of the relay.