An estimated 30,000 visitors celebrated National Paralympic Day 2014 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday (August 30) to enjoy the very best of the UK’s disability sport and arts, resulting in the event being hailed a great success by supporters, athletes and organisers alike.
On the day, #NPD2014 trended on Twitter and sparked conversation online amongst fans of Paralympic sport as people shared their experiences and photos from the day, contributing to more than 50 million impressions of the event hashtag in the UK.
All the activity in London was captured by Channel 4, and the channel will air a highlights programme hosted by Rachael Latham and Steve Brown this Sunday, 7 September, from 08:30 to 09:30 including the best of the sporting action, activity on the Park and interviews with Paralympians.
Visitors descended on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday in their thousands to try out disability sports, meet Paralympians and take in the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival. In the Copper Box Arena, crowds enjoyed a number of thrilling encounters between GB athletes and their international rivals in Boccia, Goalball and Wheelchair Basketball while the London Aquatics Centre hosted elite international competition for the very first time since London 2012.
Spectators were joined by the BPA’s Royal Patron the Earl of Wessex, who also enjoyed a walk through the park to see the come and try opportunities on offer and meet a number of GB athletes.
Birmingham and Liverpool also got in on the celebrations for National Paralympic Day, hosting a range of activities which highlighted some of the more extraordinary features of Paralympic sport and invited sports fans to test their own skills.
In Liverpool, double bronze Paralympic medallist David Devine and GB men’s Wheelchair Basketball captain Abdi Jama encouraged visitors to Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE to get involved and show their support for the Paralympics.
Colin from Maghull in Sefton and his son Joseph aged six joined in with the activities in Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE and were big fans of the Wheelchair Basketball court.
“We’ve had lots of fun and it’s great for the children to get involved in.” Colin from Maghull
He said: “We’ve had lots of fun and it’s great for the children to get involved in. The activities help raise awareness of the Paralympics. London was the first time I watched a lot of the Paralympics so I’m looking forward to watching Rio in 2016 too!”
In Birmingham, London 2012 medallists and European Champions Mickey Bushell and Dan Greaves met fans in Centenary Square. Nearby, Cadbury World joined in with the spirit of the occasion, thanks to the support of Mondelēz – one of several BPA partners who got involved in the day.
“The day takes the legacy of the Paralympic Games and shares it with people across the nation.” Gerrard Baldwin
Gerrard Baldwin, General Manager at Cadbury World, said: “We’re proud to have supported the British Paralympic Association on National Paralympic Day. The day takes the legacy of the Paralympic Games and shares it with people across the nation, and we were thrilled to be able to help promote disability sports in our home city.
“We were also delighted to welcome Paralympic hopeful Jonathan Broome-Edwards to Cadbury World. He is an inspiration to everyone and it was a pleasure to welcome him to the attraction.”
Elsewhere, other organisations and sports groups were inspired to host their own events to celebrate National Paralympic Day and encourage people in their local community to get into sport. Examples include an open day in Lymington hosted by RYA Sailability and the work of Leeds Disability Sport, who ran a number of sessions across the week for people to have a go at a wide range of activities including adapted cycling, canoeing, sailing and wheelchair abseiling.
Jane Jones, Director of Marketing and Communications at the British Paralympic Association, commented:
“I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to increase the scale of National Paralympic Day and build on the success of last year’s inaugural event, encouraging even more people to come together in celebration of the Paralympic movement.
“Events such as these provide people with a unique opportunity to connect with Paralympic sport and athletes, inspire disabled people to get more involved in sport.” Jane Jones
“National Paralympic Day is a vital part of our ambition to maintain the momentum of the Paralympic movement in this country as we progress from London to Rio. Events such as these provide people with a unique opportunity to connect with Paralympic sport and athletes, inspire disabled people to get more involved in sport and help to promote more positive perceptions of disability sport and disabled people.”
National Paralympic Day is generously supported by the charity, Spirit of 2012 (Spirit).
Spirit was established by the Big Lottery Fund last year, with an endowment of £46m from the sale of the Olympic and Paralympic village. It is working to ensure the spirit that radiated from the London 2012 Games can be felt by everyone, everywhere. It is investing in happiness; supporting those providing opportunities in sports, the arts and volunteering.
Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012 said “I am glad that Spirit has helped to facilitate this inspiring event, and to take the magic of National Paralympic day beyond Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London to reach thousands in Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool”.
The BPA would like to see lots of people engaging with the news and information that we post on our website. If you would like to participate in the conversation, however, please ensure you comply with the House Rules. The BPA reserves the right to remove posts which do not comply with these Rules or which are considered irrelevant to the post.