The London 2012 Paralympic Games begins with a science-inspired, wonder-filled opening ceremony

Eleven days of sport, which will see around 4,000 athletes from 165 countries taking part, kicked off last night in a spectacular London Paralympics opening ceremony.

A capacity crowd of 80,000 watched the event in Stratford, East London, which was opened by HM The Queen. Millions more around the world tuned in via TV, radio, and YouTube.

Around 3,000 volunteers - including 73 disabled performers - took part in the event, which was titled ‘Enlightenment’.

Professor Stephen Hawking and Sir Ian McKellen narrated the show, which was described by co-artistic director Jenny Sealey as ‘an exquisite journey of discovery inspired by the wonder of science.’

Highlights included:

  • a version of the national anthem arranged by Benjamin Britten
  • aerial Ballet with disabled dancer David Toole
  • a trip through Isaac Newton’s garden
  • a recreation of the Large Hadron Collider

The ceremony culminated in the lighting of the cauldron with the Olympic flame, which began its journey to the stadium from Stoke Mandeville 24 hours earlier.

Prime Minister David Cameron commented: “The Olympic Games made us proud, but I think this will make us prouder still.”

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