Cookstown to hold Paralympic flame celebrations at MUSA

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TO mark six months to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has announced that Cookstown will be one of six council areas to hold Flame Celebrations as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay 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 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.

The Cookstown Flame Celebration will be held at Mid-Ulster Sports Arena on the evening of Saturday August 25 from 4pm - 7pm. The family fun day celebration will have a flavour of the local community, but will feature part of the nation’s flame and have the Paralympic values at its core. Disability Sport NI will assist in showcasing disability sport activities to include taster sessions, exhibition events and fun and games. More activities will be co-ordinated at a local level by MUSA’s Active Communities Coach for people with a disability.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, who attended the launch of Cookstown’s Flame Celebrations at Mid Ulster Sports Arena said: “Excitement is building around our local flame lighting ceremony to celebrate the Paralympics which is taking place in Belfast on the 25th of August. Alongside this special occasion a festival will be held here in the Cookstown. These celebrations will bring the courage, determination and spirit of the Paralympic movement right to the heart of our local communities. I wish Cookstown well in organising this event and encourage all local people to support it.”

Chairman of Cookstown District Council, Cllr Sean Clarke said: “It is an honour for the Cookstown District that we have been chosen as one of only 6 Council areas to host a Flame Celebration. We are delighted to be part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, especially as Mid-Ulster Sports Arena has been identified as a pre-Games training camp, and is included in the official London 2012 pre-Games Training Camp Guide.”

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

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.