York’s Paralympic Lantern will follow the route of the main flame when it takes a turn at York Racecourse’s winners’ enclosure on the closing day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Saturday 25 August.
It will be in the hands of one of York’s inspirational para-athletes. No stranger to the winner’s podium, the Lantern’s bearer will be Sianagh Gallagher, a 15-year-old gold medal winning paraclimber from York.
The Olympic Torch itself was a visitor to the Racecourse back in June when it was carried the final furlong of the day on horseback by former Olympic show jumper Harvey Smith.
Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “York is one of just 36 UK towns and cities honoured to host a Paralympic Lantern because of our excellent work promoting sport for disabled people. We are very proud to be able to parade it with our Olympic Torch partners York Racecourse, to the tens of thousands of racegoers and hope it will inspire more people to become more active and realise their sporting ambitions.”
Gary Verity, Chair of Yorkshire Gold and Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Taken from Yorkshire’s flame, York’s Paralympic Lantern has arrived in a spectacular weekend of sporting excellence: Celebrating Ability Day, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Ebor Festival and the York 800 Flotilla. I hope it inspires Yorkshire’s Paralympic athletes to perform as well as our Olympic athletes. ”
York’s Lantern will make its appearance at the winner’s enclosure just after 2pm and will feature on York Racecourse’s viewing screens for visitors in all enclosures and boxes, and on Channel 4, the official Paralympic broadcaster.
The Lantern’s flame will be lit at Trafalgar Square on 24 August and Yorkshire’s flame will travel to York Station that morning to be split into five in the county’s historical capital. One lantern each will go to Beverley, Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield, while York’s own flame will tour the city en route to the council’s third annual Celebrating Ability Day at Energise Leisure Centre, completing the journey from spark to lighting up a major disability sports event in just one day.
The quality and reputation of Celebrating Ability Day secured the lantern’s visit to York. The annual event aims to get more disabled people who may have a physical, sensory or learning disability to get more active more often and offers a host of activities from sound tennis to rock climbing. It has also been granted the Inspire Mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme which recognises innovative and exceptional projects directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which run from 29 August to 9 September.
Paraclimbing is among the activities on offer at Celebrating Ability Day. York’s Paralympic Lantern carrier, Sianagh Gallagher from Acomb learned to climb at the leisure centre where she trains, and went on to secure a gold medal in the National Paraclimbing Series 2012 in London on 15 July competing in the upper and lower limb category.