Back on track to celebrate Buckinghamshire’s Paralympic heritage for Tokyo 2020
Buckinghamshire’s proud Paralympic heritage will be internationally recognised as part of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay, with the fourth Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony taking place at Stoke Mandeville Stadium on Thursday 19 August.
As the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville will welcome Paralympic Torch Bearers and local sport and community groups to this unique outdoor celebration which forms part of the five-day-long official Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay. Buckinghamshire Council with local partners WheelPower, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, National Paralympic Heritage Trust, Walk the Plank, and Leap are delighted to once again be bringing this fantastic celebration of the county’s rich heritage to life and giving local families the opportunity to get involved.
Walk the Plank will be hosting exciting flag making workshops, suitable for ages 12+, in line with Buckinghamshire Culture’s Open Weekend (22–25 July) – a new opportunity to showcase and celebrate the range and breadth of creativity and culture taking place in Buckinghamshire. The flags created will be used as decoration for the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, with makers offered the opportunity to carry them as part of the event, showcasing the creativity of Buckinghamshire’s local communities.
There are four workshops available to attend, all hosted at Alfred Rose Community Centre, Aylesbury on Friday 23 July and Saturday 24 July. More information including how to book a free space on a workshop can be found at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/events/celebrating-buckinghamshires-paralympic-heritage.
There are also lots of opportunities to celebrate Buckinghamshire’s Paralympic legacy at this summer’s free Play Around the Parishes events, happening around the county. Take advantage of some free family-friendly summer fun between 22 July–27 August, and look out for your chance to join Buckinghamshire Council in saying a big ‘Good Luck from Bucks!’
The ‘Good Luck from Bucks!’ campaign hopes to encourage local communities, organisations and businesses to send their best wishes to the Paralympic athletes competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Record a message, take a photo with the ‘Good Luck from Bucks’ frame (which will be out and about at the Play Around the Parishes events) or create your own artwork to show your support and celebrate Buckinghamshire’s Paralympic legacy. Photographs and videos shared with Buckinghamshire Council on social media will be showcased at the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony – so be sure to tag @BucksCouncil in your posts!
For more information on Play Around the Parishes and to download the timetable of events, please visit www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/parishplaydays.
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions and impacts of the pandemic throughout the planning stages of the fourth Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony, Buckinghamshire Council has been unable to provide a ticket ballot for the event. Highlights of the Ceremony will however be broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursday 19 August for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of their home.
Cllr Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, commented:
“It’s fantastic that we are able to recognise and celebrate Buckinghamshire as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement with another Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony.
“Already we have seen some inspiring community involvement thanks to Buckinghamshire students, with a keen eye for design and engineering, who worked with local outdoor arts company, Festive Road to create a new Paralympic Heritage Cauldron. This specially commissioned piece of work has now been completed and the cauldron will be an integral part of the Ceremony and wider heritage celebration event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay and future Paralympic Torch Relays.
“I’d like to encourage as many local families as possible to get involved with the creative flag making workshops and ‘Good Luck from Bucks!’ campaign over the summer, both unique and exciting opportunities to celebrate Buckinghamshire’s role in Paralympic history. And of course, I’d like to remind everyone to tune in to the highlights of the Ceremony which will be broadcast globally on Channel 4 for us all to enjoy.”
Martin McElhatton OBE, Chief Executive of WheelPower, said:
“I am very proud of Stoke Mandeville’s unique Paralympic heritage, born from the invaluable work achieved by Sir Ludwig Guttmann at Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s National Spinal Injury Centre and at Stoke Mandeville Stadium as the movement grew. WheelPower is excited to be working with Buckinghamshire Council to deliver a fantastic ceremony that encompasses the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games’ values. It’s great to see that, once again, an international spotlight will be shone on the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony recognising Stoke Mandeville’s role in Paralympic history.”