Date for flame lighting

Buckinghamshire’s Paralympic heritage will be internationally recognised as part of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay.

The fourth Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony taking place at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Thursday 19 August.

As birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville will welcome torchbearers Jane Blackburn and Susie Rodgers MBE, as well as sport and community groups to the unique outdoor celebration. It forms part of a five-day-long official Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay.

Buckinghamshire Council are locally supported by WheelPower, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, National Paralympic Heritage Trust, Walk the Plank, and Leap, in bringing the celebration of the county’s heritage to life.

Walk the Plank recently hosted several community flag-making workshops. The flags will be used as decoration for the ceremony, with makers offered the opportunity to carry them as part of the event.

Due to restrictions and impacts of the pandemic throughout the planning stages of the fourth Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, the council has been unable to provide a ticket ballot for the event.

However, ceremony highlights will be broadcast on Channel 4’s evening news programme on the day for everyone to enjoy at home.

Clive Harriss, the council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: ‘We’re fully behind our athletes and want everyone to offer them their support.’

Martin McElhatton OBE, Chief Executive of WheelPower, said: ‘It’s great to see this international spotlight shining on Stoke Mandeville, celebrating its unique Paralympic heritage, born from the invaluable work achieved by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s National Spinal Injury Centre.’

Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: ‘The Paralympics is the culmination of years of sacrifice and dedication for athletes across the world and I’m delighted that Stoke Mandeville is once again playing its part.

‘Our Tokyo Paralympians will inspire young disabled people to pursue their dreams without barriers and through our national disability strategy we are committed to helping them make that possible.’

The Paralympic Heritage flame lighting ceremony at Pyeong Chang, 2018