Plan for Paralympic flame-lighting at Stoke Mandeville

Cauldron is lit in Stoke Mandeville for the Paralympics A cauldron was lit in Stoke Mandeville to mark the start of the London 2012 Paralympic torch relay

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A plan to light the Paralympic flame at the home of the Games every time the event is staged is being debated later.

Buckinghamshire councillors are to consider a proposal to always light the Paralympic torch at Stoke Mandeville.

Council chair Marion Clayton said its "special status" should be recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the government.

She said the hospital and stadium should be commemorated, just as Athens is for the Olympics.

The council will debate the issue at a meeting and if it is agreed they will work through the government and the IPC to try to make it happen.

"I think that Stoke Mandeville is now increasingly recognised internationally as the birthplace of the Paralympics and I do think that is something we should promote," Ms Clayton said.

"Holding the lighting ceremony [there] would commemorate the special roots of the games in the rehabilitation of the injured.

"I think that for a relatively small outlay it will attract international attention."

Parallel games

She added that lighting the flame for both the summer and winter games, would also recognise the pioneering work to treat spinal cord injuries, started by Dr Ludwig Guttmann, which "absolutely transformed lives".

Dr Guttmann was brought to Oxford as a refugee fleeing Nazi Germany and was asked to run the spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandeville for injured soldiers returning from World War II.

He opened the National Spinal Injuries Centre there in 1944 and introduced sport into his patient rehabilitation programme.

The Paralympic Games - named as the parallel event to the Olympics - originated as a result of an archery competition he organised for his patients on the grass outside the centre.

He held the first Paralympic sports event in 1948 on the opening day of the London Games and developed Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Centre for Disability Sport, alongside the hospital.

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