THE Paralympic Flame made a brief appearance in Newtownabbey during its whistle-stop tour of Northern Ireland ahead of this week’s opening ceremony in London.
The iconic flame, which was lit at the summit of Slieve Donard, paid a visit to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in Glengormley as it toured around the country.
The flame went on to ignite a cauldron at a special ceremony in Stormont which was then transported to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital - the home of the Paralympics - to mark the Games opening.
Tina McCrossan, director for Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice said: “Being chosen as a stop off location for the Paralympics torch celebration was a great honour and one that was appreciated by all the children, families and staff at Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
“The children and staff made paper torches and flames to welcome the flame ambassadors.
“There was a great buzz at the Children’s Hospice in Newtownabbey and it is a memory and experience that we will not forget. We wish all the athletes good luck in the Games.
“We will be watching with interest and plan to build on the excitement by staging our own in house games and medal ceremony.”
Meanwhile, Glengormley man Michael McKillop received a boost to his medal hopes after he was promoted straight into the final of the 800 metre competition of the Games on Saturday.
McKillop, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy, won the 800m title four years ago in Beijing in a world record time.
The 22 year old, who is also hot favourite in the 1500m, admitted to being “a bit nervous” ahead of the games.
He said: “Come London I am going to try to make it my time to shine and bring Paralympic sport out to what it deserves to be regarded as - elite sport.”