Mayor announces National Paralympic Day celebration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

disabled sportTop disabled athletes and performers will return to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for an exciting celebration of sport and culture to mark National Paralympic Day – Saturday 7 September – almost one year since the London Paralympic Games closed, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced today.

National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival is a free event aimed at disabled and non-disabled people and will be the grand finale to a thrilling summer of celebrations marking the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Games. It will be another great opportunity to experience part of the new park, which has been designed to be fully accessible.

Organised by the Mayor of London, The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the British Paralympic Association, the day will bring together a host of top-flight athletes, including Paralympic medallists, and artists and performers appearing as part of the Mayor’s Liberty Festival, the popular annual showcase of Deaf and disabled artists. Liberty is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Amongst the highlights will be ‘The Limbless Knight’, an inspiring aerial and sway performance from award winning theatre company Graeae, which has been co-commissioned by LLDC and GDIF, the arts organisation that produces Liberty. Graeae’s artistic director Jenny Sealey was joint artistic director of last year’s Paralympic Opening Ceremony, along with Bradley Hemmings, artistic director of GDIF.

There will be a special appearance from Andrea Begley, who recently triumphed on the BBC TV series ‘The Voice’, plus street theatre, outdoor dance, mass choreography, visual arts, live music, film and food. Another attraction will be the amazing ‘Miracoco Luminarium’, a monumental interactive light sculpture.

As well as being an opportunity to see elite Paralympic athletes in action, the day will offer the chance to discover your inner Jonnie Peacock with family-friendly ‘have a go’ sports activities. The event will take part in the north of the park and inside the Copper Box Arena.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘This event will be a fitting finale to another outstanding summer of sport, culture and entertainment in this magnificent new park. London’s Paralympic Games were astonishingly successful, with superb medal-winning performances by our brilliant athletes. But they also transformed the way we think about disability. This will be a fantastic opportunity to see some of those world-beating athletes in action once again and to enjoy magical performances by some of the finest disabled artists in the UK. It’s also another chance to enjoy our fabulous new park.’

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation said: “This will help us maintain the amazing momentum of the Paralympic Games and bring people back to Queen Elizabeth Park to celebrate its anniversary. We need a Paralympic legacy that is strong and long lasting which is why we’ve been promoting disability sport in the community with our Motivate East programme. I hope thousands of people come down to National Paralympic Day to try out a sport, watch top athletes and enjoy some exciting free entertainment in the park.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the BPA said: “The performances of the ParalympicsGB athletes inspired the nation and changed the way people think about disability. National Paralympic Day will recreate some of the wonder of the Paralympic Games and will build on the momentum that was started so successfully last year.”

Jenny Sealey, artistic director of Graeae: ‘I cannot believe it has been a whole year since Bradley and I directed the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. It is fitting that this year’s Liberty continues the theme’s we raised one year ago of rights and what it is to be human. I am proud to be showcasing some of our wonderful cast from the Paralympic Opening Ceremony in The Limbless Knight. Liberty places Deaf and disabled people centre stage and it is a celebration of who we all. This year, more than ever before, our visibility is crucial to remind people of the ongoing battle we have to hold onto our rights, independence and dignity.

National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival – Entrance to the event is free and information on how to register for free tickets will be available shortly.  For more information about the event go to: http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/events/2013/6/disability-sport

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