Flame celebration gets cash boost

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A SUFFOLK town is making final preparations to welcome the Paralympic Flame on August 24 - after a cash boost of more than £7,000.

Needham Market is one of just 34 communities across the country that will host a flame celebration as part of the 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay.

The town’s preparations have been boosted by a Big Lottery grant of £7,480 which will be used to ensure the event is as accessible as possible for people with disabilities.

The money will be used to provide accessible transport, powered scooters for hire, specialised changing equipment, easy-read signage, sign language interpreters, additional accessible toilets and event buddies to assist people if they need it.

David Finn, from disability charity Optua, which is helping to organise the event, said: “This event will be a fantastic day for Suffolk and we want to ensure that as many disabled people and their families can get there.

“Many disabled poeple do not normally have the opportunity to attend large scale events of this kind so we wanted to make sure we provided really excellent facilities so everyone can celebrate the Paralympic Flame coming to Suffolk.”

And the town is looking to put on quite a spectacle with a Fire Show on the lake, presented by international performance company Avanti.

The celebration will also include a host of activities such as a sports zone, a climbing wall, creative workshops, junk funk drumming, art installations, live music and performances by stilt walkers and magicians.

Cllr Lesley Mayes, Chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “This fantastic flame celebration event is something that all the family will find entertaining.

“It really will be an exciting event and I would urge everyone to mark the date in the diary so they won’t miss out.”