16:03 30 August 2012
Following on from the huge success of the Olympics opening ceremony, the Paralympics put on a dazzling performance which was viewed by around 80,000 people.
The Games, which will be held for 11 days and involve 164 countries, will include over 300 GB athletes.
Show organisers Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings went with a theme of celebrating mankind’s ability to overcome odds, with the ceremony being dubbed “Enlightenment".
The night saw everything from scientific discoveries, with physicist Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang theory, a huge apple to mark Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity, to dancers with umbrellas.
The umbrella scene touched on typical British weather, as some of the supposed 3,000 volunteers who took part danced with umbrellas to pop-star Rhianna’s hit song ‘Umbrella’.
A touching moment, which was in-keeping with the humane feeling, was when Hawking’s was heard saying: "Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
Onlookers witnessed six Paralympian’s being flown in golden wheelchairs, as well as fireworks and a light show comparable to the Olympics opening ceremony.
Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend, 24, who lost his legs serving in Afghanistan, also descended on a zip wire from the Orbit tower which overlooks the Stadium.
The Royal family attended the event, with the Queen saying previously in a statement: "It is with tremendous pride that the people of London and the United Kingdom welcome the world to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
"We look forward to celebrating the uplifting spirit which distinguishes the Paralympic Games from other events, drawing on Britain's unique sporting heritage."
"Prepare to be inspired, prepare to be dazzled, prepare to be moved," Paralympics Chief Lord Coe said.
"It is my great honour to say welcome home to the Paralympic Games."
William Shakespeare's play The Tempest also featured, as character Miranda, who was played by disabled actress Nicola Miles-Wilden, partook in the voyage of discovery.
English actor Sir Ian McKellen, famous for his role as Gandalf in ‘The Lord of The Rings’ film trilogy, played Prospero.
Like the Olympics’ show, athletes carried their countries flag into the Stadium, and the night saw Paralympics GB arrive to a great reception from the crowd.
Those who took the official oaths on behalf of competitors and the officials, were GB swimmer Liz Johnson, as well as Richard Allcroft and David Hunter.
It was Margaret Maughan, 84, GB’s first Paralympic gold medallist, who lit the cauldron.
580 torchbearers carried the torch to the venue while passing famous landmarks in London.
The close of the ceremony involved Beverly Knight, Lizzie Emeh and Caroline Parker’s performance of “I Am What I Am”, while the audience were asked to sing along using sign language.
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