Patmore parties with 80,000 guests

Queensland Paralympian Simon Patmore accessorised his Australian team uniform with a party hat as he celebrated his 25th birthday with a crowd of 80,000 spectators at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The Australians, led by flagbearer Greg Smith, marched in to thumping DJ beats in front of the Queen, members of the Royal Family and International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven.

Team GB received an ecstatic reception in a blizzard of glittering ticker tape to the strains of David Bowie’s “We Can Be Heroes”.

The Opening Ceremony celebrated Britain as the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games, with the earliest disability sport competitions dating back to 1948 at the Stoke-Mandeville Hospital for war veterans.

Acclaimed British scientist Professor Stephen Hawking, who has motor neurone disease and communicates with a speech generating device, urged people to “look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”

“There should be no boundary to human endeavour,” he said.

Double amputee Afghan war veteran Joe Townsend flew in overhead on a giant zip wire to deliver the Paralympic flame into the stadium. He then passed the torch to Margaret Maughan, Britain’s first gold medallist in the 1960 Rome Games, who had the honour of lighting the cauldron.

Chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee Lord Sebastian Coe told spectators to “prepare to be inspired, prepare to be dazzled, prepare to be moved.”

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