Bolton shines at Paralympic opening ceremony
9:38pm Wednesday 29th August 2012 in News
BOLTONIANS played a key role the Paralympics opening ceremony.
The event has been described as "both spectacular and deeply human," by the London 2012 organisers.
Disabled ex-serviceman David Rawlins flew a twin-engined Tecnam P2006 light aircraft over the 62,000-strong crowd to kick off the proceedings.
It signalled the historic moment when the Paralympics came home.
Stoke Mandeville, where the four national flames which light the London 2012 Paralympic cauldron were united yesterday, is the spiritual home of the Games.
Former Bolton School pupil Sir Ian McKellen joined Professor Stephen Hawking to narrate a scientific “journey of discovery”. He also played Prospero, a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest in the spectacular ceremony.
Fellow former Bolton School boy, Sir Philip Craven, entered the ceremony with The Queen in his role as International Paralympic Committee President.
Sir Philip, who has previously competed in the Paralympic wheelchair basketball competition, also praised Bolton in his speech, saying: "This country has an insatiable appetite for sport. London 2012 has done a tremendous job in making everyone feel that these are their Games.
"Imagine my pride when I discovered that the Paralympic mascot Mandeville had been hand crafted by a retired steelworker from my home town of Bolton.
"Tonight is the start of something extremely special. Tonight is about welcoming the world to a global Games, an event where we will experience every single emotion, including ones we never thought possible."
And former Paralympian gold medallist, Tony Griffin, from Great Lever, was flown into the stadium, along with fiver former competitors, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.