St Albans City and District set to celebrate the Paralympic Torch Relay

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News release: 29 February 2012

• St Albans, Hertfordshire is one of 34 communities across the country that will host Flame Celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay
• The first St Albans Inclusive Sports Festival will be held to host part of the nation’s Flame
• Over 3500 people nominated across the country to be Torchbearers in campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s
• 150 schools from across the UK taking part in the STEM Challenge 9 to investigate how to create a spark by the energy of human endeavour to light the Paralympic Flame

Verulamium Park, St Albans

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

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.

A local athlete from St Albans District will be chosen to act as a Flame Ambassador and attend the Flame Lighting event in London and take part of the Flame back to the Flame Celebration in St Albans, that will be happening on 25th August.

On this date, Verulamium Park in St Albans will come to life as St Albans City and District Council hosts the District’s first Inclusive Sports Festival to welcome the Paralympic Flame. One hundred acres of park land will be used to create a stimulating environment where residents are able to take part in as many sports as possible at one venue, in one day.

The free event will begin at noon with a procession including local athletes, representatives from local disability groups and the local Flame Ambassador carrying the Paralympic Flame. An action-packed programme of activities will then run through until 5pm.

Local sports clubs and organisations will host demonstrations and taster sessions showcasing Olympic and Paralympic type sports with the aim of inspiring and motivating people to become more active.

Mini sports competitions will also be held throughout the day, including turn up and play events and competitions involving young athletes who are members of the Herts Youth Games training squad or who have attended courses through Sportivate, a Sport England scheme, funded by the National Lottery.

In addition, there will be a wide range of informal physical activity sessions for the whole family to take part in.

Cllr Mike Wakely, Portfolio Holder for Sports, Leisure and Heritage at St Albans City and District Council, said: “It is fantastic news that St Albans has been selected to play host to the Paralympic flame at what will be the first Inclusive Sports Festival to take place in the City. Organised by the Council, the sports festival will provide exciting, accessible opportunities for the community to be inspired by and engage in sport. It will also create an environment where local athletes can showcase their talent and mainstream sport and disability sport come together as equals.”

Chair of the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Board, Derrick Ashley said: “I am delighted that a community in Hertfordshire has the honour of hosting a Flame Celebration for the Paralympic Torch Relay.  I’m sure the people of St Albans will celebrate the spirit and values of the Paralympic Movement and make it a memorable occasion for all those that live, work and visit Hertfordshire.”

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

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

On Tuesday 28th August, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers, running in teams of five, 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 inspirational Torchbearers, who will also carry the Flame during local community visits, 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 judging before the successful teams are announced in the next couple of months. The relay will also include nominations from the British Paralympic Association and the International Paralympic Committee.

People will also be encouraged to help light the way to the Paralympic Games by lighting a lantern. For more information visit www.london2012.com/get-involved/local-leaders/lantern-festival/

Over 150 schools teams from across the UK are taking part in STEM Challenge 9: The Paralympic Torch Relay Challenge, an Inspire mark project, where groups of 11 to 14-year-olds students are investigating how to create a spark by the energy of human endeavour to light the Paralympic Flame. STEMNET is shortlisting finalists, with the final taking place on Saturday 17th March at The Big Bang UK Science and Engineering Fair 2012. The winning team will receive prize money to support their school STEM Club and access to a Paralympic Torch Relay event. For more information please visit www.stemchallenges.net.

- Ends –

Notes to editors

Photos of the Paralympic Torch are available on request. Please send the request to pressoffice@london2012.com

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 www.london2012.com/paralympic-torch-relay
Paralympic Torch Relay dates and events:
24 August 2012 - London Flame lighting event
25 August 2012 – Greater Belfast area 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 special ceremony to bring together all four Flames to create the Paralympic Flame and 24 hour relay begins
29 August 2012 - Paralympic Flame arrives at the Stadium in time for the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games

For further information about the Paralympic Flame Festivals please go to www.london2012.com/paralympic-torch-relay

For further information from St Albans City and District Council, please contact Amanda Wilkinson, the Council’s Media and Internal Communications Officer on 01727 819317 or by email at amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk

The Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership, is made up of key organisations from across Hertfordshire with a common interest. We are working together to maximise the opportunities from the London 2012 Games for the people of Hertfordshire.

In the run up to the Games and beyond 2012 we want to achieve:

• Healthier and closer communities through increased participation in sport, competition, cultural events and volunteering
• Increased opportunities for young people through education and the growth of a countywide talented young athletes programme
• A world-class sports facility available to everyone which delivers a sporting and cultural legacy
• A communications framework which uses the Games to inspire and engage all those who live, work, study and visit Hertfordshire
• A stronger Hertfordshire economy and regeneration opportunities.

More information about Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership at: www.hertsisreadyforwinners.co.uk, contact the team on 01992 555364 or follow the Partnership on Twitter (www.twitter.com/readyforwinners).

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 www.bt.com/aboutbt

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: http://www.bt.com/newscentre

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 and 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: www.lloydstsb.com/london2012 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 www.london2012.com. Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ on our blog  http://www.london2012.com/blog or follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/london2012

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.