Britain's first gold medalist in the 1st Paralympic Games at Rome in 1960 lit the Olympic Cauldron. She was passed the flame by Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend, who lost both of his legs in an explosion whilst serving in Afghanistan, who descended into the stadium on a zip wire.
It's all gone very Cirque Du Soleil at the Paralympics - I'm not entirely sure what's going on but I'm rather enjoying it. #ithinkimaybegay
Watching the Paralympic opening ceremony! Can't wait for the games
Double amputee Afghan war veteran Joe Townsend flew in on a zip wire with the Paralympic Flame from the nearby Orbit. He then passed the flame to Margaret Maughan, Britain's 1st gold medalist in the 1st Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960, who lit the cauldron.
Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the the London Paralympic Games 2012 during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.
Professor Stephen Hawking said the Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world. Speaking at the spectacular Opening Ceremony he said:
The Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world.
We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being but we share the same human spirit. What is important is that we have the ability to create. This creativity can take many forms, from physical achievement to theoretical physics. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
The Paralympic Flag has been raised in the stadium, heralding the official start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games