1. ITV Report

Paralympic Flame coming to Yorkshire

The Paralympic Flame on top of Ben Nevis Photo: PA

The Paralympic Flame will be appearing in Leeds this weekend ahead of the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games next week.

The symbol of the Games will be the star attraction at a celebration event at the John Charles Centre for Sport from 12pm to 2pm on Saturday 25th August, just days before the biggest showcase of disability sport ever seen.

The celebration event in Leeds is open to disabled and non-disabled people and will involve more than 10 Paralympic sports being demonstrated.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle said:

“It would be great to see as many people as possible coming along to see the Paralympic Flame in Leeds, and the very best of luck to our Leeds athletes competing in the Games. We will all be watching and willing you on.”

Evan Whitton says he feels like a Hollywood star Credit: ITV Calendar

The Paralympic Flame began burning yesterday, when it was formally lit by disabled and non-disabled scouts at Scafell Pike in Cumbria along with others at Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in Wales and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

Yorkshire’s Flame Ambassador Evan Whitton, 8, from Silsden will be given the honour of collecting a special lantern containing a splinter of the flame at a celebration event in London’s Trafalgar Square on Friday.

Evan will then return to Yorkshire with the lantern on Friday afternoon, where it will be split into five further lanterns which will appear at celebrations in the region including the event in Leeds on Saturday.

Leeds athletes will be looking to emulate the extraordinary success of their Team GB colleagues from the Olympics.

Leading the way for Leeds will be David Stone MBE, from Rawdon resident, who will be looking to repeat his stunning performances at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 where he won gold medals in both the road race and individual time trial cycling events.

On the track, Hannah Cockroft from Halifax, who trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds, may become one of the stars of the Games. The 20-year-old goes into the event as the current world record holder in four distances of wheelchair racing.

In the pool, City of Leeds swimmer Claire Cashmore will be carrying the Leeds hopes, looking to win medals in her third successive Paralympic Games after securing bronze in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

The fourth Leeds representative competing will be Ali Jawad in the Paralympic powerlifting.

The 23-year-old former world and European junior champion, who is originally from Lebanon, is based at the Team GB High Performance Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University.

All four are expected to be competing in front of capacity crowds as for the first time in the history of the Paralympics the event which runs from Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 9 September from is expected to be a sell-out with 2.5million tickets sold.