Bid to make Stoke Mandeville permanent home of Paralympic Torch lighting gathers momentum
Thursday, 03 January 2013
January 3 - The campaign for the Paralympic Torch to be lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium before every Summer and Winter Games is continuing to attract support after a motion to petition MPs and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was agreed by Wycombe District Council.
Wycombe is the latest body to add its support to the campaign after a proposal was passed in September by Buckinghamshire County Council, where Stoke Mandeville is located, backing a regular lighting ceremony at the Paralympics' birthplace.
Chiltern District Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council also unanimously passed a motion backing the proposal at the end of last year.
Wycombe Councillor Paula Lee proposed the latest motion after her great aunt had served at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1945 before Sir Ludwig Guttmann sowed the seeds of the Paralympic Movement in 1948 by organising an archery competition for Second World War veterans and patients with spinal injuries.
"My aunt recalled that most doctors disapproved of Dr Guttmann's methods," Lee told the Bucks Free Press.
"This year, the Paralympics became an equal to the Olympics with packed stadiums.
"This country and the county should be proud and we need to commemorate the work started by Dr Guttmann."
The motion was backed by every Councillor, including Brian Pollock who stood up and put on his purple and orange baseball hat from the Games Maker uniform he wore at Eton Dorney during London 2012.
"This would recognise Dr Guttmann and highlight the fact that the Paralympics was pioneered in the United Kingdom and in Buckinghamshire," he explained.
"I take my hat off to them."
Wycombe District Council will now write to MPs urging the British Government to recognise the special status of Stoke Mandeville to make it as symbolic to the Paralympics as Olympia is to the Olympics.
The Olympic Flame of the modern-day Games is lit by reflection of sunlight in a parabolic mirror in front of the Temple of Hera in Olympia and then transported by a Torch to where the Games are being held.
The campaign follows a successful lighting ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium for the London 2012 Paralympics.
November 2012: Support growing for Stoke Mandeville to be made permanent home of Paralympic Torch lighting
September 2012: "Bring the Flame home" to the birthplace of the Paralympics, politicians demand
August 2012: London 2012 Paralympic Flame comes to life at Stoke Mandeville Stadium