Global Rainbow Calls Upon the People of the North West to Put Their Hands Up for London 2012

1 March 2012

• Four communities in the North West are set to host Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Relay
• Each community to host part of their nations Flame
• Over 3500 people nominated to be Torchbearers in campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s

To mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced the communities across the UK that will hold Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.

In the North West, celebrations will be held in Manchester, Preston, Knowsley and Ellesmere Port with each of the events showcasing and celebrating Paralympic sports and cultural activity. 

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 also host events celebrating the Flame Lightings.  The four Flames will be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.  This Flame will be carried on a 24 hour overnight Relay to London and the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Director of Paralympic Integration, Chris Holmes, said: “We are thrilled that these communities across the North West will play host to Flame Celebrations. This new concept will involve people from all around the UK in the spirit of the Paralympic Movement in unique ways relevant to their area. I know that people across the North West will get involved in these celebrations and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”

A total of 34 communities around the UK have taken the opportunity to host Flame Celebrations as part of the programme of events that will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Each community will send a Flame Ambassador to one of the four national Lighting events to take part of the Flame back to the Flame Celebration in their area. In the North West these Ambassadors are still to be determined.

Every celebration will be unique and have a flavour of the local community, but each will feature part of the nation’s flame and will have the Paralympic values at its core. Whilst specific details are being developed for each of the events just some of the detail for each area is as follows:

• In Manchester the celebration will be city centre focussed and will aim to showcase Paralympic sport to the masses through broadcasting, live links to Paralympic sporting events and will celebrate the Paralympic training camps that are based in the City for the Games and their particular sports.  There will also be an opportunity for people to take part on ‘taster sessions’ and to see the professionals demonstrating their sports. 

• In Preston, the celebration will be linked to the prestigious Preston Guild programme and will be a high-profile civic event which will highlight the city’s commitment to Paralympic sport by recognising those who have achieved in Paralympic sport, as well as those who take part in disability sport through the various sporting groups located in and around the City. 

• In Knowsley a series of activities and events are taking place in the run up to the Games to promote and celebrate Paralympic sport and cultural activity.  The flames arrival, at Kirkby Sports College, will trigger a welcoming ceremony and a community event that will celebrate those individuals, groups and local Paralympic athletes involved in Paralympic sport, will   showcase disability sports and encourage people to ‘have a go’ and will celebrate the international training camps as they leave Knowsley for London 2012.

• In Ellesmere Port the celebrations will demonstrate inclusivity, achievement and endeavour in the field of sport art and music.  A single celebration is planned to welcome the flame with the opportunity for it to visit other sites in the area across the day.  The event will include demonstrations of Paralympic Sports and will include Dance and music showcases linking culture and sport. 

Andy Worthington, Chair of the North West Steering Group for the 2012 Games, said: “I am extremely proud that areas right across the region are hosting an event to celebrate the Paralympic Games as it just demonstrates our commitment to promoting sport for all in the North West. 

We want to ensure the Games taking place this summer are inclusive and all encompassing and these events will make a great contribution to showcasing Paralympic Sport right across the region and giving people who may feel disconnected from taking part in sport, the opportunity and inspiration to try certain sports for the first time.  

I’m now really looking forward to seeing the plans for each of the celebration events coming together and I’m sure they will as a whole  leave a lasting legacy for the people of the North West and many ‘memories that matter’ for years to come.”

On Tuesday 28th August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by teams of inspirational Torchbearers, in a 24 hour overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The 620 Torchbearers, who will also carry the Flame during Flame Festivals, are being chosen by the three Presenting Partners, BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s. There were over 3500 nominations from across the country and they are now going through their selection processes before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The relay will also include nominations from the British Paralympic Association, the International Paralympic Committee and other London 2012 sponsors. 

People will also be encouraged to help light the way to the Paralympic Games by lighting a lantern. For more information visit

– Ends –

Notes to editors

Photos of the Paralympic Torch are available on request. Please send your request to [email protected]

To find a Flame Festival or Flame Celebration near you, and to see a fly through of the London 2012 Torch Relay programme, please visit

Paralympic Torch Relay dates and events:
24 August 2012 – London flame lighting event
25 August 2012 –Belfast Flame Lighting event and Flame Festival
26 August 2012 – Edinburgh Flame Lighting event and Flame Festival
27 August 2012 – Cardiff Flame Lighting event and Flame Festival 
28 August 2012 – Stoke Mandeville Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony to bring together all four flames to create the Paralympic Flame. 24 hour relay begins
29 August 2012 –  Paralympic Flame arrives at the Stadium in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games

London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, operating in more than 170 countries.  Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services.  BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
BT is the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.
In the year ended 31 March 2011, BT Group’s revenue was £20,076 million with profit before taxation of £1,717 million.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.  BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.  For more information, visit
Enquiries relating to BT’s nomination programme for Paralympic Torch Relay Torchbearers should be made to the BT Group Newsroom on its 24-hour number: 020 7356 5369. From outside the UK dial + 44 20 7356 5369. All news releases can be accessed at our web site:

Lloyds TSB is the exclusive Banking & Insurance Partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and partner of the London 2012 ticketing programme and the Olympic an Paralympic Torch Relays.  The Bank is committed to inspire and support young people, businesses and communities across Britain in the lead up to London 2012. 

As a National Presenting Partner for the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB/Bank of Scotland will be taking the spirit and inspiration of the Paralympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK/Scotland.  Be the first to hear how to follow the Paralympic and Olympic Flames, through our customer-exclusive programme Trackside. For more information on how Lloyds TSB/Bank of Scotland is helping take the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to all corners of Britain, visit: or www.bankofscotlandlondon2012

Sainsbury’s is proud to be a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay. Sainsbury’s is committed to promoting a healthier, more active lifestyle for all, regardless of ability, and supporting the values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality on which the Paralympic Movement was founded.
Sainsbury’s will be using its partnership of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay to engage and celebrate those who make a lasting difference in attitudes towards disability in the UK and create opportunities for change in disabled people’s lives.
Sainsbury's is the first ever Paralympic Games-only sponsor and this landmark commitment to the Paralympic Movement is the largest sponsorship ever of a Paralympic Games.

For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ on our blog or follow us on Twitter

For further information on any of the specific events happening in the North West please contact the relevant press office on:

Manchester: Conrad Astley on  0161 234 1010 or email [email protected]

Knowsley : Jackie Rand on 0151 443 3269 / email: [email protected]
Preston: [email protected]

Ellesmere Port – Shirley Wingfield on 01244972215 / e-mail [email protected]

London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners – adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.
There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

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