Scouts in London for Paralympic celebrations
Scouts were present in Trafalgar Square, London, today as the the capital's Paralympic celebrations began. The Flame they kindled earlier this week at the summit of Scafell Pike was used to light a ceremonial cauldron.
Along with the intrepid band of Scouts, the ceremony was attended by Prime Minister David Cameron, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, London 2012 chair Sebastian Coe and Claire Lomas, who was the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit. Claire took the flame from the Scouts, housed safely in the miners' lantern that was used to bring it down from Scafell Pike, and transferred it to a Paralympic torch in order to light the cauldron.
Before the cauldron ceremony, the torch visited London landmarks including the Royal Opera House. It will later travel around the capital before heading to Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement, where it will be united with National Flames from the other home nations before a 24-hour relay ahead of the London 2012 Paralympic Games opening ceremony in Stratford.
Hike to the Pike
On Wednesday Scouts from Cumbria lit England's National Flame at the top of the country’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike.
The Scouts used skills they have learned through Scouting to create the flame, which relied on traditional methods and natural fire-lighters.
The proud Scouts, some of whom have special needs and were supported by friends and family, climbed to the top of Scafell Pike for the lighting of the Flame. Heading the team of Scouts was Group Scout Leader, Geoff Price, from Cumbria. A committed and passionate volunteer, Geoff led the way during the 978-metres climb to the top of Scafell Pike.
One of the Scouts, David Harding, an Explorer Scout from Cumbria, has Aspergers Syndrome, but didn't let that get in the way of his love of climbing and hill walking. Before the climb, David commented on the flame-lighting honour, saying, 'I am very proud to be climbing the mountain and lighting the flame, it's going to be very exciting!'
Rebecca Haslam, a fellow Cumbrian and Explorer Scout Leader, also joined the hike to the Pike.
'A huge honour'
Lighting the Flame is further testament to the diversity and inclusivity of The Scout Association: disability is no barrier in Scouting.
UK Chief Scout Bear Grylls said: 'Lighting the Paralympic Flame is a huge honour and I'm very proud that the Scouts have been chosen to take part. The Paralympics are about courage, determination, inspiration and equality, which are values close to the heart of Scouting. Climbing these UK mountains in honour of the Paralympics will be a great achievement for every one of these Scouts!'
The National Flames will also light the cauldrons at Paralympic Flame Festivals in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff over the course of the weekend before heading back to the Olympic stadium in London.
See tomorrow's news story for our coverage of the action in Northern Ireland.
Inspired? Join in...
If you've been inspired by the London 2012 Games Makers or the Scouts helping to kick-start the Paralympic Games, get involved and volunteer by joining the adventure
Celebrate a great summer of Olympic and Paralympic events in Scout style by getting hold of your own Olympic scarf and badge. Check them out at Scout Shops