GDIF has been busy working with a stunning creative team on a programme of events at Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury in early March. Commissioned by Aylesbury Vale District Council and supported by Arts Council England, this ambitious project will inauguarate an exciting new biennial Heritage Flame Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville supported by the International Paralympic Committee and the British Paralympic Association.
Paralympic Opening Ceremony – Ziya Azazi © Getty Images
Why Stoke Mandeville?
1948 saw the commencement of the first ever organised athletic day for disabled athletes alongside the Olympic Games. The Stoke Mandeville Games, founded by neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann on the lawns of Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, transformed into the global phenomenon that is now the Paralympic Games.
Stoke Mandeville Games © buckslegacy.org
The London 2012 Games and the Legacy
Building on the momentum of the London 2012 Games, including the Paralympic Games, and in recognition of Stoke Mandeville as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, the UK has been awarded the honour of involvement in all future Paralympic Games Torch Relays.
This March, ahead of the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville will host the first ever international leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay, and will become the first place in history to be involved in the Relay outside of the Games’ hosting country.
Paralympic Flame © buckslegacy.org
Heritage Flame Celebration ‘Spirit in Motion’ – Sun 2 March, 2014
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 7:30pm, Free tickets via ballot
Enter the public ballot now (Deadline: Sun 16 February – click image below) for a chance to win free tickets to this celebratory occasion bringing together Paralympic athletes and live music, art and performance, including disabled aerial artists from the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, visual artist Rachel Gadsden, and performances by soprano Denise Leigh and by Andrea Begley, winner of BBC One’s “The Voice”.
Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony Broadcast – Fri 7 March, 2014
Tune in to the global broadcast of the Winter Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in Sochi to watch the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony. Follow the Paralympic Torch Relay from the Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to its joining with torches from 46 cities throughout Russia. This unified flame will be used in a final relay before the Opening Ceremony.
For more information on these events, please visit http://www.buckslegacy.org/ or the Paralympics’ site at http://www.paralympics.uk.
Paralympic Opening Ceremony © Deck Accessory Flickr
To share the Paralympic magic with you in Aylesbury and Stoke Mandeville, we invite you to continue connecting with us via our blog, Facebook and Twitter for updates on this exciting international artistic endeavour.