Paralympics: Coldplay delight musician Lloyd Coleman

Lloyd Coleman with the British Paraorchestra Clarinetist Lloyd Coleman (top centre) performs in the British Paraorchestra with guest star Chris Martin from Coldplay (seated on stage, front right, back to camera)

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A young musician from Bridgend has been speaking of his delight at sharing a stage with rock stars Coldplay at the Paralympics closing ceremony.

Lloyd Coleman, 20, who is partially deaf and blind, played clarinet in the British Paraorchestra created by conductor Charles Hazlewood.

"They were incredibly kind and incredibly open to us," said the young musician of headline act Coldplay.

Mr Coleman had previously composed new music for the Cultural Olympiad.

A short set of songs by Coldplay formed one of the highlights of a spectacular Paralympic closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London on Sunday.

Mr Coleman told BBC Radio Wales how the orchestra was pleased to accompany the band as part of their appearance.

"I was performing with the British Paraorchestra, formed a year ago by the conductor Charles Hazlewood to provide a platform for musicians with disabilities," he said.

"Coldplay were very kind and invited us to perform with them at the ceremony and we provided an introduction to the song Strawberry Swing which was just fantastic.


The young musician said it had been a "privilege" to work with Coldplay and lead singer Chris Martin in particular.

"He came and spent a day with us in north London," said Mr Coleman.

"We threw a few ideas around and we weren't quite sure what we were going to do at that point but it soon became clear that they were very interested in collaborating with the orchestra.

"They were incredibly kind and incredibly open to us and allowed us to basically do our own arrangement of their song - we really enjoyed playing with them.

Chris Martin and Rihanna Chris Martin of Coldplay welcomes special guest Rihanna to the stage

"I know they are a kind of Marmite band - love/hate - but actually I've always liked Coldplay and was delighted when I realised the ceremony would be based around Coldplay's music.

"I think that was a very good move by the organisers because sometimes these things can become a little bit overblown and overlong.

"Just to have what was essentially a Coldplay concert but then bring in all these other elements like the Paraorchestra, Rihanna and other artists too, I think it worked really well last night and I hope the public enjoyed it as much as we did."

'Game changer'

Mr Coleman said it was very poignant to perform at the moment when the Paralympic flag was lowered, and that it was sad to see the end of an event that he like millions of others had followed avidly.

Start Quote

This year's Paralympic games have been a real game changer in perceptions of disability and attitudes towards disability”

End Quote Lloyd Coleman

He was also confident that the Paralympics had displayed disabled people in a positive light.

"This year's Paralympic games have been a real game changer in perceptions of disability and attitudes towards disability," he said.

"How appropriate is it that that has happened in the country where the Paralympic movement first started. I think that's absolutely wonderful.

"People with disabilities have some amazing things to offer. Some people might think this has been said time and time again, that the message is getting slightly old now and that we've heard it all before.

"I do know people who still just have misconceptions and still haven't had their eyes opened to the extraordinary things that people with disabilities can do.

"I introduced some of my housemates to blind football which they'd never seen before … they were absolutely amazed by it.

"It's that coverage and exposure which is needed so that people can have their attitudes towards disabilities changed."

The accolade comes after Mr Coleman was asked to compose a piece of Olympic-themed music performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales during 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

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