Countdown to ignition for the Paralympic torch’s 24-hour journey through south and east London

Pic: UK Parliament

The Paralympic torch relay is set to pass through Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney as part of its final day’s journey through 15 London boroughs.

The relay will begin on Tuesday evening with the lighting of the flame. A twenty-four hour procession will then take place, covering some ninety miles.

The torch will only pass through Bywater Street in Tower Hamlets at 1.03pm, before crossing Tower Bridge.

It will then be carried through Lewisham at 3.22pm. Starting on Evelyn Street and passing through Deptford High Street and Deptford Church Street, the torch will move across the Isle of Dogs.

The procession will continue through Hackney’s Mare Street at 6.09pm, and passes out of the borough at London Fields West Side.

The procession will include 580 torchbearers. Each borough will witness a team of five carry the torch, passing it between them before handing over to the next group of five.

Among the torchbearers will be Tower Hamlets’ former rowing gold medalist, Helene Raynsford. Now retired, Raynsford triumphed at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Another notable relay member will be Hackney’s Michael Watson. The former boxer famously relearned how to talk and walk after sustaining a life threatening brain injury in a bout with Chris Eubank, in 1991.

He will be joined in the relay by eleven time gold medalist, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, who is a resident of Hackney.

Fifteen former Paralympians will carry the torch, while the rest of the 580 bearers will be made up of those deemed to be ‘unsung heroes’ and champions of disability sport.

With the torch due to arrive at the Olympic Stadium at 10pm, the opening ceremony will begin. Some 3,000 volunteers will take part in the display, dubbed ‘Enlightenment’. Within this will be 50 disabled performers who have learned circus tricks for the ceremony.

Written by Alan Dymock

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