The odd shower failed to dampen spirits as the torch made its way through Waterloo and along the South Bank on its journey to the Olympic Park for the Paralympic opening ceremony.
Crowds of spectators gathered on Jubilee Gardens in the shadow of the iconic London Eye to see the torch carried along the South Bank before heading out of Lambeth across Waterloo Bridge.
116 teams of five Torchbearers have the honour of carrying the Olympic Flame along the 92 mile route from Stoke Mandeville to the Stratford Park. To learn more about Lambeth’s inspirational torch bearers visit http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/torch-relay/torchbearers/community=lambeth/index.html
Among those greeting the flame on Jubilee Gardens was GB Paralympic legend and Lambeth resident Dzaier Neil who won gold in the javelin in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and then 24 years later represented GB in table tennis in Beijing in 2008. For her and other Paralympians, the message of the Paralympics is that it is not about the back story of a disability, but about dedicated athletes showing that no matter who you are, you set your own limits and goals in life.
She said: “It’s a real honour to be asked to come here and celebrate the torch as it passes through Lambeth and. The crowds have been fantastic and it’s a truly awesome experience. Although I didn’t qualify for these Games I’m taking part in the opening ceremony which is fantastic, and taking part in that is like winning a gold medal.”
As the torch made its way onto Jubilee Gardens it was met by Dzaier, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Jackie Meldrum, and Lambeth Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Sally Prentice.
Thanking the crowds for showing such enthusiastic support, Cllr Prentice said: “It’s a huge honour to welcome the Paralympic Flame to Lambeth. Over the next 10 days we will all enjoy seeing over 4,000 athletes from 165 nations competing at the highest level in 20 different sports. It’s going to be a tremendous few days and we wish all those taking part every success.”
Photos of the event will be posted on the council website shortly.
For all the information about the Paralympics including details of events visit http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/sports