Suffolk: County set to welcome Paralympic flame

SUFFOLK is set to be one of 34 counties in the England to host the Paralympic flame before it travels to London for the 2012 Games.

In a weekend of sport, culture and celebrations, the flame will be brought from Trafalgar Square in London on August 24 and travel across the county in the build up to the competition.

A key event in the flame’s tour of Suffolk is a visit to Needham Market on Friday, August 24 where it will be part of an afternoon festival of free entertainment and sport at the town’s lake.

At 7.30pm, the flame will take part in a lantern procession around the town, led by Suffolk Paralympic athlete Brian Alldis, and then a spectacular fire work display back at the lake. The lantern procession will be accompanied by performers from the Suffolk School of Samba and Suffolk-based wheelie bin drumming group Junk Funk.

On the weekend of August 25 and 26 the flame will visit six disability sports groups’ events across the county, including Suffolk Spartans Powerlifting Club, East Anglian Sailing Trust, Active Waveney Disability Sport Forum, Ipswich Disability Sport Forum, Exning Wheelchair Tennis Club and Abbeycroft Leisure.

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On the evening of Saturday August 25, the flame will travel east to Snape Maltings – where it will take pride of place on the stage at a concert performed by the British Paraorchestra – the UK’s first orchestra made up entirely of disabled musicians.

The flame will move west again on Monday August 27, where it will be on display at the Suffolk Lap of Honour exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. The free exhibition celebrates Suffolk’s Olympic and Paralympic heritage.

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Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for sport and the Paralympics, said: “Suffolk, like the rest of the UK, is currently in the grip of London 2012 fever and the great thing is there’s still much more to come.

“It might not be that well known but Team GB came second in the medal table at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games – scooping 42 golds in their impressive 102 medal haul.

“Suffolk is sending two Paralympians to the Games and hosting the flame over four days – so I hope it’s something we can really get behind as a county.”

The Paralympic flame will be collected from Trafalgar Square in London by Needham Market artist Amy Nettleton. She will bring the flame back to her home town for the afternoon and evening celebrations on Friday, August 24.

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