FAMILIES turned out in the early hours of this morning to welcome the Paralympic torch to Harrow and Brent.
The 24-hour relay made a stop in the two boroughs as part of its journey around the UK, before heading to the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, in time for the Opening Ceremony this evening to mark the start of the Paralympic Games.
The much-anticipated relay was running an hour and a half behind schedule, as it was supposed to arrive in the borough of Harrow, in The Common, Stanmore, at about 3.30am, but spectators waited patiently and spirits were high among the crowds.
Some 100 people, including athletes and local dignitaries, gathered for a celebration at Aspire Centre in Stanmore, which helps people with spinal injuries and where some Paralympians train.
From there, the flame was carried down Stanmore Hill, to Honeypot Lane, then onto Kingsbury where it was handed over to Brent.
The flame left Brent for a short spell in Hendon, then returned for a ceremony at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (also known as Neasden Temple), which provided a spectacular backdrop for a short ceremony.
The torch then headed to Willesden Sports Centre in Donnington Road where spectators will see the flame before it leaves Brent and enjoy activities afterwards.
The paralympic torch relay - which was criticised for being held during the night - did not attract the thousands of people witnessed in Harrow and Brent during the Olympic torch relay, however, it received a warm welcome by many keen to catch a glimpse of yet another historic moment in the two boroughs.
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Also read our blogger from the Paralympics here.