Welsh paralympic flame
Earlier this week Gwynedd Scouts kindled a Paralympic Flame on Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales, to herald the start of the Paralympic Games celebrations.
A group of six Explorer Scouts completed the ascent, accompanied by London 2012 Games organising chair Lord Sebastian Coe. A combination of ferro rod, firesteel and Scout fortitude enabled them to successfully spark a flame in characteristically wet and windy conditions at the summit. They proudly unfurled a Welsh flag before transferring the Flame to a traditional miners' lantern.
The Scouts who made the trip to the top were Lewis Dowling, Alex Peet Draycott, Owen Michael, Tori McIntyre, Calum Hamilton-Hunter and Ellie Hamilton-Hunter. They were accompanied by leaders David Cutts and Lyn Hamilton-Hunter.
Lewis was climbing for his brother Baily, who has severe autism, and he was eager to get started early on Wednesday morning. Fellow Scout Alex has dyslexia, dyspraxia and pronated feet, which makes it difficult for him to walk. Before taking on Snowdon, he said: 'I am really looking forward to being part of this challenge. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and a privilege to be involved.' Tori agreed: 'Helping to light the Paralympic Flame is an experience of a lifetime and a wonderful opportunity which I am honoured to be part of.'
Together the group managed to complete the ascent and the firelighting with aplomb. Lord Coe commented, 'It's been a great team effort this morning. Quite cold in places so a couple of rests, but we all knew this.'
Flame festivities in the Welsh capital
Today their Flame, housed in its lantern, was the focus of celebrations when it was be used to light a torch and then a ceremonial cauldron outside Cardiff City Hall. A flame festival will also take place today in Cardiff Bay.
Wales has played an important role in Paralympic sport – Welsh athletes were responsible for a quarter of the gold medals won by Team GB at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. Paralympic athletes from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Papa New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands have also been in Cardiff for the last two weeks, as the Welsh capital hosted the Oceania Paralympic Team's pre-games training camp.
The final stages before the Games
The Welsh flame will be the last of the flames to arrive in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement. There it will be united with the other three flames of the home nations. From the four separate flames the main flame will be formed, starting a 24-hour Paralympic Torch relay ahead of its arrival at the stadium in Stratford, East London.
Inspired? Join in...
If you've been inspired by London 2012 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