Arts Council England
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Rio comes to Stoke Mandeville for Paralympic Heritage Flame Ceremony 2016

In a wonderful celebration of diversity, sport and the arts this September, Stoke Mandeville Stadium will host a Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony– the only one to be held outside of the host nation.

Stoke Mandeville is famous internationally as the place where Dr Ludwig Guttman inaugurated the first sporting competitions for disabled people in 1948. This year’s ceremony, which is supported by the Arts Council, will see 100 local residents come together with performers from StopGap Dance to celebrate Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.

Directed by Bradley Hemmings and with choreography by StopGap, the performance will imagine the spirit and values of the Paralympics as ‘seeds of diversity’. Those seeds are then spread across the world, sharing the Paralympic movement’s enlightened ideas about diversity.

The 2 September event will end with the lighting of the Paralympic Heritage Flame, which will then travel to Brazil. The Heritage flame will then be combined with others from across Brazil to mark the beginning of the two-day torch relay. On 7 September, the flame will eventually arrive in the Olympic stadium for the start if the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Councillor Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Communities and Civic Amenities at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “It’s fantastic that Stoke Mandeville Stadium will once again be hosting the Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, giving residents of Aylesbury Vale another opportunity to feel pride in seeing our area showcased on the world stage. It’ll be marvellous to see the birthplace of the Paralympic movement play such a significant role in the launch of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Sincere thanks to Arts Council England for their generous contribution towards the funding of what will no doubt be a spectacular event.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “Stoke Mandeville is recognised as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement and so we are delighted to continue our support for The Paralympic Heritage Flame Ceremony. It is a project that highlights the important role arts and culture has in celebrating our heritage. But more than that, it celebrates the achievements of our Paralympic athletes. It resonates strongly with our own work to support diverse artists and create opportunities for them to flourish on a local, regional, national and international stage.”

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