ELLESMERE Port will welcome the Paralympic Torch with pride when it comes to the town this weekend and inspirational people from across the town will carry it.
As the North West prepares to host the flame celebrations as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay, details have been released about the flame celebration at West Cheshire College which will kick-start four days of celebrations in the borough.
West Cheshire College student and professional wheelchair basketball player Josh Dunn will start the celebrations by travelling to London on Friday as Ellesmere Port’s flame ambassador.
He will collect the flame from the national lighting event before bringing it to Ellesmere Port for the relay the following day.
Community heroes including teenagers and pensioners will carry the torch through Ellesmere Port on Saturday.
All the torch-bearers were nominated for the honour by friends, family and colleagues and will carry the flame in a miner’s lantern along a route beginning at Sainsbury’s at Cheshire Oaks.
Billed as a celebration of inclusivity achievement and endeavour in the fields of sport, art and music, the festivities will officially begin at 10.30am on Saturday from Sainsbury’s car park.
The torch-bearers will carry the flame along Stanney Lane to EPIC Leisure Centre, where there will be an event including a swimming demonstration, disability cycling and disability football.
At 12.45pm the second stage of the relay will take off from West Cheshire College entrance to the main college building, where the main celebration event will be taking place.
This will include fencing demonstrations by wheelchair fencer Adrian Derbyshire, performances by IndepenDance, Cheshire Dance and Samba Drumming, accessible cycling, Boccia and netball demonstrations provided by Ellesmere Port and Neston Special Olympics Branch Athletes.
There will also be wheelchair basketball from the Celtic Warriors versus Wolverhampton Rhinos, plus a bouncy castle, face-painting and a special guest from Chester Zoo, before the flame leaves for its next stop in Northwich.
Local member Cllr Justin Madders said: “It’s a real honour that Ellesmere Port has been chosen to host such an event and that so many local people are being given the opportunity to get involved.
“I hope seeing the flame pass through our town will enable people to see that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.”
Sara Mogel, principal of West Cheshire College, said: “We are delighted to host the main flame celebration event here at the college.
“It will be a fantastic day for everyone in the community to enjoy from demonstrations of Paralympic sports, through to dance performances and lots of family fun.”
For further information on the Paralympic events, visit www.embracethegames.org .
The flame-bearers carrying the torch in Ellesmere Port include:
Matthew Bintley, 20, from Ellesmere Port, who has suffered from haemophilus, meningitis and septicaemia since he was three months old. He has attended Claire House since 2007 and attends Coronation Centre in Ellesmere Port every day. Regardless of his complex medical condition he is determined to live every day to the full.
Jonathan Butler, 20, from Great Sutton, is a student at West Cheshire College and member of Ellesmere Port Chester and Neston Special Olympics team for football and tenpin bowling. He has also been selected as a Games Maker volunteer for the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Ryan Davies-Patrick, 24, from Great Sutton, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Ryan has a positive attitude and willingness to learn which has helped him succeed in his volunteering role at the National Waterways Museum.
Chris Holmes, 20, from Ellesmere Port, has suffered from cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and epilepsy since birth. His positive attitude and brave character is inspiring to his family and friends and young people at Claire House.
Stuart McNeill, 30, from Great Sutton, was born with spina bifida and has overcome many challenges to gain a degree in sports coaching at the University of Chester. For the past six years he has coached local community and national league basketball teams.
Dave O’Brien, 64, from Ellesmere Port, started the ‘Food for Thought’ lunch club more than 15 years ago and organises lunch clubs and day trips for the elderly and disabled at St Thomas’ Church in Ellesmere Port.
Claire Taylor, 36, from Ellesmere Port, has for many years supported young people with disabilities to make a positive contribution to their local community though drama initiatives, despite fighting a long battle with leukaemia herself.
Sarah Tilling, 24, from Ellesmere Port, has developed various disability sports projects across Cheshire West and Chester. She spends her evenings and weekends volunteering and working for the Ellesmere Port, Chester and Neston Special Olympics group, providing support and coaching for all its athletes.
Adrian Venables, 49, from Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, is a member of Chester Terrapins Swimming Club. Profoundly deaf, Adrian makes a difference to the members through his caring and thoughtful nature. He goes on the annual holiday camp with the club and volunteers at his local Scouts club.
Dave Waterhouse, 54, from Ellesmere Port, lost his arm in an accident in 1976 and started playing golf in 1991. He is now number six in the world in one-armed golf, has captained England and represents Europe in world events.
Rachel Williams, 38, from Ellesmere Port is a wheelchair user and works hard in the community as a Guide and Rainbows leader and school governor. Her daughter Jasmine was stillborn in December and she has amazed her family and friends with her strength and determination.
Jane Beech, the partner of much-loved Michael Kelly, 61, from Ellesmere Port, who passed away recently, will carry the torch in his honour. Michael tirelessly fundraised for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd despite suffering from a terminal illness himself.
David Garry, 61, from Neston.
Alex Rathnaike, 19, from Little Neston.
Claire Irving, 32, from Willaston.