Needham Market set to celebrate the Paralympic Torch Relay


Needham Market is one of 34 communities across the country that will host Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay

Paralympic Torch Relay logoTo mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced that Needham Market will hold Flame Celebrations as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay.

Four Flames will be lit as part of a new concept for the Paralympic Torch Relay, one each in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Each nation will also host events celebrating the Flame Lightings.

The four Flames will be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame. This Flame will be carried on a 24 hour overnight Relay to London and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Amy Nettledon, a local artist, will act as Flame Ambassador and attend one of the four Flame Lighting events and take part of the Flame back to the Flame Celebration in Needham Market.

A total of 34 communities around the country have taken the opportunity to host Flame Celebrations and be part of the programme of events that will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Cllr Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council's Portfolio Holder for Sport, Culture, Diversity, Health and Wellbeing said

"It is fantastic news that Suffolk has been chosen to host a Paralympic Flame Celebration. We are very excited at the prospect of bringing a piece of the Paralympic Flame to the county, being an official part of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and celebrating the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality. 2012 is already an amazing year for Suffolk with so many Games inspired events including the Olympic Torch Relay coming to the county but this news really does put the icing on the cake".

Zoey Furzer, Arts Officer at Mid Suffolk District Council said:

“Mid Suffolk is delighted that we are able to host the Suffolk Paralympic Torch Relay Flame Celebrations. Being in the heart of Suffolk, we want to arrange an event that the whole of Suffolk can attend and enjoy. Needham Market is the idyllic place in which to celebrate the fantastic opportunities in 2012 with the Olympics and Paralympics. We look forward to welcoming people from all across Suffolk to celebrate later in the year.”

Philip Williams, Optua’s Chief Executive, said:

“It’s great news that Suffolk will be taking part in the Paralympic Torch Relay Flame Celebrations. Optua will be involved in making sure that as many disabled people in the county as possible get to see the flame. 2012 will be an exciting year for disabled people in Suffolk and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council.”

Town Mayor Martin Spurling said:

"The celebration is a great opportunity for the town to get close to the heart of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and I am confident that it will be a grand celebration".

Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, Chris Holmes, said:

“We are thrilled to announce that Needham Market will play host to a Flame Celebration. This new concept will involve people from all around the UK in the spirit of the Paralympic Movement in unique ways relevant to the area. I know that people from Needham Market will get involved in this celebration and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”

On Tuesday 28th August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers, running in teams of five, in a 24 hour overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The 620 inspirational Torchbearers, who will also carry the Flame during local community visits, are being chosen by the three Presenting Partners, BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s.

There were over 3500 nominations from across the country and they are now going through judging before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The relay will also include nominations from the British Paralympic Association and the International Paralympic Committee.

People will also be encouraged to help light the way to the Paralympic Games by lighting a lantern.