Horsham to host Paralympic Flame Celebrations

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HORSHAM is one of two towns in the South East to host Flame Celebrations as the Paralympic Torch makes its way around the country later this year.

The much anticipated event will take place in 33 communities across the UK on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

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 host events celebrating the flame lightings before they are united at a ceremony in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire.

From there more than 3,500 torchbearers - running in teams of five - will pass the flame to the Olympic Stadium in a 24-hour overnight relay on Tuesday August 28.

Someone from West Sussex will be chosen to act as a Flame Ambassador and attend one of the four Flame Lighting events.

No details about what Horsham’s Flame Celebrations will involve have been released as of yet.

Sue Rogers, HDC’s cabinet member for a Safer and Healthier District, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Horsham will host a Flame Celebration in the build up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“It is a fabulous opportunity for local groups and individuals to celebrate the endeavour and determination of our Paralympians while at the same time recognising their own achievements.

“The Horsham district has always championed inclusion and participation and I hope that as many people as possible help us welcome the Paralympic movement to Horsham in August.”

The news has been welcomed following last year’s announcement that the Olympic Torch Relay will completely miss the Horsham district.

In November the County Times reported how Olympic organisers had circled the route around the town and neighbouring communities, making the nearest viewing points at Crawley, Arundel, Dorking and Petworth.

Chris Holmes, director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, added: “We are thrilled to announce that Horsham 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 Horsham will get involved in this celebration and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”