Hundreds brave weather to see flame

Heavy wind and rain failed to dampen the festivities surrounding the Paralympic Flame’s arrival in south Wales.

Organisers were forced to scale back a mini-torch relay in Cardiff due to atrocious weather, but hundreds still braved the elements as the flame was taken around the Welsh capital.

The festivities – which included a pop concert, sporting demonstrations and a tour of two hospital wards – were started by medal-winning Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson after he lit a cauldron outside Cardiff City Hall.

The 45-year-old rider, of Porthcawl, had his hopes of competing in the 2012 Games dashed after being hit by a drink-driver earlier this year.

He said: “I would have preferred to have been competing but this is the next best thing. It was such a shock to get the phone call asking me to do this.”

Cardiff was the last of four cities in the UK to hold a festival marking the arrival of the Paralympic flame.

Flames from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England will unite before a relay to Wednesday’s opening ceremony.

After the cauldron had been lit in the Welsh capital, two flames in lanterns were taken to Rookwood Hospital in Llandaff, Cardiff.

The facility, which has specialist spinal and neurological rehabilitation wards, has treated many past Welsh Paralympic athletes.

Youngsters also got a slice of the action at events at football team Cardiff City’s House of Sport Coaching Academy and outdoor demonstrations in the city centre.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

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