Cheshire’s Paralympic Flame Celebrations
Cheshire West and Chester was the centre stage when the Paralympic Flame arrived in Ellesmere Port during the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Flame celebrations kick started a four day extravaganza starting at Sainsbury’s, Cheshire Oakes, Ellesmere Port with Josh Dunn the Town's flame ambassador.
Community Games were a major part of Paralympic Flame celebrations which included a guest appearance from Adrian Derbyshire (Team GB Wheelchair Fencer).
Badminton, horse riding, music and mascots helped start a procession of 31 worthy flame bearers, aged from 13 to 64 passing a Lantern in a relay from Sainsbury’s to the EPIC Leisure Centre, where a VIP ceremony was held, before the doors were opened to the public for activities including disability football, netball, table tennis and swimming.
The Lantern with the Community Games team in tow then continued its journey to West Cheshire College for an afternoon of cultural and sporting activities including, Cheshire dance, fencing demonstrations, wheelchair basketball, rowing, accessible cycling and netball. The event ended with a Mascot race which was won by Artie from the British Heart Foundation.
On the final day of the Flame Celebrations the Neuro Muscular Centre in Winsford hosted the grand finale. The Community Games team were once again on hand enjoying the fine weather with so many people turning up to the event and trying their hand at archery, wheelchair football, go karting, fencing, boccia, cricket and performances by Dee Signing choir.
The weekend celebrations saw thousands of happy people attending each event, giving families the opportunity to try out different sports and cultural activities and bringing a real community feel to the celebrations. A couple of the flame bearers commented as follows:
"As I was watching the opening ceremony and the lighting of the cauldron I was thinking I helped to carry that flame. Another thing that struck me was that all the flame carriers will have made new friends and in other cases tighter bonds with friends will have been made. It was a great celebration and showcased the different sports for people with disabilities and what is on offer across Cheshire"
"Being nominated as a Flame bearer was fantastic. It was great to see the streets lined with people all wanting to get a picture. I was really surprised how many people were in attendance and how much fun and excitement the flame brought to people in Ellesmere Port. I think the flame visiting Ellesmere Port has really brought the Paralympics closer to people and hopefully will result in more and more positive exposure for Paralympic Sport, especially over the next few weeks".