A PIECE of the Paralympic flame will visit West Sussex later this month, ahead of the official start of the games.
The flame will be welcomed to the county with a celebration in Horsham, which missed out on the Olympic torch relay earlier this year, on Saturday, August 25.
Future Paralympic hopeful Tyler Paul, who won the coveted potential Paralympian trophy for sporting excellence in table tennis when he took part in the National Junior Games last year, will collect the flame from London on behalf of the county.
Tyler, a former pupil at The Angmering School, will take part in the official London lighting ceremony before returning to West Sussex with a lantern containing a piece of the Paralympic flame ready for the celebration event in Horsham.
The flame will be welcomed by Michael Hobbs, a local athlete and community volunteer, and paraded across Horsham Park before being presented to chairman of Horsham District Council Leonard Crosbie and deputy leader of West Sussex County Council Lionel Barnard.
A Horsham District Council spokeswoman said: “The event celebrates inclusion and disability with an emphasis on young people and families.”
During the Flame Celebration, an enormous painted Paralympic panel will be on display, celebrating different sporting elements of the games.
The panel has been created by three local artists – Mark Hooley, Annalees Lim and Rebecca Nellings – in the theatre department of Northbrook College, in Littlehampton Road, Worthing.
The artists worked with young people across West Sussex to discuss and explore body image, with specific reference to Paralympians, creating a range of designs which Mark developed.
Annalees and Rebecca then took Mark’s images to produce the panel.
Activities on offer at Horsham Park, in North Street, include taster sport sessions, live bands, DJs, dance workshops, dance performances and flag-making workshops.
Blue Touch Paper’s integrated samba band, Boom Tribe, will be performing samba tunes throughout the event as well as forming part of the procession welcoming the flame.
Aiming High Dance group, High Five, will also give a short performance.
Sporting activities will include Goalball, Boccia, blind football, table tennis, athletics, cricket and gymnastics.
All the sessions will be free of charge, fully inclusive and will run from 10:30am to 12:15pm.
Steyning councillor Sue Rogers, district member for a safer and healthier district, said: “Horsham can be very proud that a piece of the Paralympic flame is coming to the district and West Sussex.
“Horsham District Council has always placed inclusion and accessibility high on its agenda and Horsham Flame Celebration will be a fantastic opportunity for local groups and individuals to come together and celebrate a global event like the Paralympics and all it stands for.”
The day’s activities will also mark the start of a new programme of aiming High for Disabled Children sessions, with previous participants receiving certificates from councillor Adam Breacher and having their pictures taken in front of the Paralympic panel.