Thursday 30 August 2012

Paralympic Opening Ceremony (Enlightenment) London 2012 - I was there!

Last night with less than 2 hours to go I suddenly found myself in possession of a ticket for the Paralympic Opening Ceremony.  Cue a crazy mad dash across London and back in rush hour to collect my son from my mother in law's and enlistment of no less than 3 other babysitter's (don't ask!) and a run to the tube station and we were on our way!

Once at Stratford the madness continued as we ran from the station to collect our tickets from a store (again, don't ask!) and then onto the Olympic Stadium. We made our seats with literally a second to spare and I have honestly no idea how we managed to get there in time...but we did.

The Opening Ceremony was entitled Enlightenment "a journey of discovery inspired by the wonder of science and its power to transform perceptions."  For the next 3 and a half  hours (and a bit more!) we were entertained, enthralled, moved, dazzled and inspired at the sights before us in this thought provoking spectacular.

The opening with Rihanna's Umbrella

We were treated to a show featuring Sir Ian Mckellen, Professor Stephen Hawking and a young actress playing Miranda, Shakespeare's heroine who discovers a brave new world.

The athletes coming out - 164 countries are taking part in the Games



Team GB

The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the home team - Great Britain - who came out to rapturous applause, a standing ovation and the booming sound of David Bowie's apt Heroes pumping through the stadium.

Once the athletes were in place blind soprano Denise Leigh sang 'Spirit in Motion' a tribute to the athletes

After inspirational and rousing speeches from Lord Sebastian Coe and the President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven, the Queen declared the Games open and fireworks exploded from the top of the Stadium.

Continuing with Miranda's journey

Globe opening

Six Paralympians bathed in gold take to the sky on wires; This is just stunning.

Golden Stadium

Sea of Blue and the Whale

From a stadium bathed in gold to a captivating seascape the parlaympixels are used to incredible effect.

A young singer called Birdy plays the piano and sings Bird Gerhl. This is just beautiful. She has an amazing voice that transfixes everyone in the stadium. The imagery complements and enchants.

This is followed by the Apple crunching moment as a giant golden apple arrives and Miranda bites into her apple. A stadium full of people crunching an apple :-) Well not me as I am allergic to them!

A giant reproduction of sculpture Alison Lapper pregnant appears to take centre stage and then the Royal Marine Joe Townsend zip wires down with the Paralympic Flame, handing over to blind five-a-side footballer David Clarke. Incredibly it was then handed over to Margaret Maughan, Britain's first ever Paralympic gold medal winner! I found this so touching and the crowd went wild and once again we stood up as the cauldron was lit. Magical.

The night and ceremony ended with one of my favourite singers and quite possibly my favourite moment of the evening - Beverly Knight singing a moving and soulful version of 'I am what I am'. I believe this should be everyone's motto in life.

A spectacular firework display concluded the event with Beverly still singing.

This was a night to truly remember and treasure forever. As Lord Coe said "A new Games is about to begin and new role models and stories of heroism will emerge."

Good luck to all those taking part in the Paralympics London 2012. 


  1. I was there too - sitting right next to the cauldron. What an amazing evening it was. I had been worried that it might turn out to be a bit patronising to the disabled but it was so very much a celebration of people doing the very best they can whatever limitations they might have. There were some very powerful, moving moments but nothing at all condescending. And to have been part of that crowd that surged to its feet with joy when Team GB entered - well, that is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    1. Oh wow! That must have been amazing. Team GB entering and the crowds reaction was fantastic.


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