Rachel helps light up Paralympic Games

Islandmagee scout Rachel Nicolson shows Down District Councillor Mickey Coogan a map of the route chosen for the inspirational climb up Slieve Donard. INLT 35-641-CON
Islandmagee scout Rachel Nicolson shows Down District Councillor Mickey Coogan a map of the route chosen for the inspirational climb up Slieve Donard. INLT 35-641-CON

AN Islandmagee teenager has helped light the spark that has gone on to become the official 2012 Paralympic Flame.

Ahead of the opening ceremony of the London Paralympic Games, a small group of disabled and able-bodied scouts and mountaineers ascended Slieve Donard to start a process which will create the flame for the highly-anticipated event.

Using the traditional technique of rubbing flint together to create sparks and kindle a flame and demonstrating the power of human endeavour and teamwork, the climbers – which included 15-year-old Islandmagee scout Rachel Nicolson – created a light which was carefully preserved in a miner’s lamp and carried down the mountainside to Donard Park, where there was a rapturous public welcome hosted by Down District Council.

At the same time, similar flames were lit on the summits of the highest points in Scotland, England and Wales and the four will ultimately be united to create the 2012 Paralympic Flame.

In the beautiful natural setting of Donard Park, cheering crowds – all eager to be part of something truly memorable – greeted the climbers amidst an illuminating mix of free family entertainment.

Down District Council chairperson, Councillor Mickey Coogan welcomed the flame and congratulated the scouts and mountaineers on a job well done.

“This is the start of something truly special and we are all united in wishing the talented and hugely determined athletes who will compete in the 2012 Paralympics a truly great Games,” he said.