THE Paralympic Flame is coming to Needham Market – the town is one of just 34 communities hosting a special Flame Celebration as part of the Paralympic Torch Relay.
Four flames will be lit in London, Greater Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff – Flame Ambassadors from all over the country will then take part of the flame back to their communities for a special celebration.
Ambassador Amy Nettleton, 25, an artist from Great Finborough who has been disabled since she was 18, will collect the flame from London on August 24.
An active sportswoman who plays wheelchair basketball for the Bury Bombers and the Eastern Blue Stars, Amy has also worked for disability charity Just Different, talking in schools to children about disability issues.
Amy only found out on Tuesday that she had been picked to represent the area.
She said: “I was a bit embarrassed when I found out I was going to be the Flame Ambassador – I didn’t think they had picked the right person.
“It is going to be really exciting as I have friends who are performing at the Paralympics and have already got my tickets to see them.
“I feel very honoured to have been chosen.”
Cllr Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for sport, culture, diversity, health and wellbeing, said: “It is fantastic news that Suffolk has been chosen to host a Paralympic Flame Celebration.
“We are very excited at the prospect of bringing a piece of the Paralympic Flame to the county, being an official part of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and celebrating the Paralympic values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality.
“2012 is already an amazing year for Suffolk with so many Games-inspired events including the Olympic Torch Relay coming to the county but this news really does put the icing on the cake”.
On August 28, the Paralympic Flame will be carried by torchbearers, running in teams of five, in a 24-hour overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the start of the opening ceremony.
Director of Paralympic Integration at London 2012, Chris Holmes, said he was sure residents of Needham Market would fully embrace the spirit of the Paralympics.
He said: “We are thrilled to announce that Needham Market will play host to a Flame Celebration. This new concept will involve people from all around the UK in the spirit of the Paralympic Movement in unique ways relevant to the area.
“I know that people from Needham Market will get involved in this celebration and help ignite passion for the Paralympics across the UK.”