Coventry's Paralympic gold start to collect flame

By Steve Carpenter 24/05 Updated: 28/05 17:25

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Buy photos » Rita Thompson, pictured with Lord Mayor Tim Sawdon, is looking forward to bringing the Paralympic Flame to Coventry. (S)

COVENTRY's first ever Paralympic gold medallist has been given the honour of collecting the Flame and bringing it to her home city.

Rita Thompson, 86, was the first person from the city to win a Paralympic gold medal when she tasted success at the 1980 Arnhem Paralympics in the Women’s Pair lawn bowling event.

And with less than 100 days to go until the Paralympics this summer, Rita, from Mount Nod, has been invited to be the city’s Paralympic Ambassador.

She will join Lord Mayor Tim Sawdon to collect the Flame from Trafalgar Square in London and bring it to her home town for a Paralympic Flame Celebration on August 25.

"I am touched to be asked to be Coventry's ambassador for the Paralympics," said Rita, who also went on to win bronze and silver medal before landing gold again in the pairs four years later.

"It is so exciting for the city to be one of just four that are hosting Paralympic Flame celebrations and to be asked to go to London to collect the Flame with the Lord Mayor is an absolute honour.

"The Paralympics coming to the UK is such an exciting opportunity for young disabled people to see what can be achieved by taking part in sport and for them to feel on a level with able-bodied people."

The Flame will be collected on August 24 and will be taken to a civic reception at the Council House in the evening.

A public celebration will take place the following day between 2-5pm at the London 2012 Live Site outside the Transport Museum.

The day will be a celebration of disability sport, art and culture and visitors will be invited to try their hands at a range of Paralympic sports as well as view dance performances from Mencap and local schools.

To keep up-to-date with all London 2012-related activity in the city visit

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