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Paralympic Torch Relay reaches new heights

The Paralympic Torch Relay began this morning with the lighting of flames at the top of four mountains across the UK.

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Flames were created by groups of Scouts at the summits of the highest mountains in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales today to mark the start of the Paralympic Torch Relay.

The Scouts were joined by local mountaineers at the peaks of Scafell Pike (England), Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland), Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa (Wales) and Ben Nevis (Scotland), where they struck a ferrocerium rod against a rough steel surface to generate the sparks that will create the Flames.

The group that scaled Scafell Pike included mountaineer Karl Hinett, who sustained multiple injuries in Iraq when he was badly burned in a petrol bomb attack. He has since gone on to climb mountains all over the world including Everest.

Speaking before the climb, Mr Hinett said: “This is a huge honour. I can’t wait to get started up Scafell Pike. It’s a beautiful part of our country and the perfect location for this historic occasion.”

The four flames will now be taken to each of the nation’s capital cities and become the focus for a day of Paralympic celebrations.

On 28 August they will be united at a special ceremony at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement, to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame. This will be carried by 580 inspirational Torchbearers, working in teams of five, to the Olympic Stadium to officially open the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: “After a fantastic Olympic Games we are now looking forward to what we hope will the best ever Paralympic Games. The UK is the birthplace of the Paralympic movement and London’s Games will show the world just how amazing and inspiring elite Paralympic sport can be.”

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Published 22 August 2012