Paralympic torch on way to London

The Cauldron is lit in Stoke Mandeville as the four flames unite

The Cauldron is lit in Stoke Mandeville as the four flames unite

First published in National News © by

The Paralympic torch is wending it way to London on the eve of the start of what many believe will be a hugely successful Games.

With the UK's first full Paralympics on course to be a sell out, hopes are high that it can match the brilliance of the Olympics weeks earlier.

The 24-hour torch relay began, with the four flames of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland being united in a cauldron in the shadow of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the spiritual home of the Paralympics.

The torch will be carried from Buckinghamshire to London for the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, which the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend.

Prince Harry will not, as planned, attend the opening ceremony but the Paralympics will be where he makes his first public appearance since naked photos of him made headlines around the world.

More than 2.4 million tickets have been sold already, half a million of those to overseas visitors. Ten thousand tickets will be available each day during the event.

London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said: "We've tried to get as many people in as we reasonably can. This is a wonderful illustration of how the British public have said we love the Paralympics and want to be part of it."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said they will change attitudes towards disability around the world.

Some 800 tickets to the opening ceremony have been given away to troops and police.

More than 3,000 adult volunteers are taking part in the ceremony, along with around 100 children and a professional cast of 100.

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