Aug 19 2012

Susan Says: Open Letter to Paralympics 2012 Organisers

Dear Sir/Madam,

When the Olympic Torch was carried through Harrow on 25th July, an estimated 100,000 residents lined the streets to see it – just under half our borough’s population. It was a similar story right across the country and Harrow, like so many areas, also enjoyed local success – with canoeist Richard Hounslow taking home silver in the C2 slalom.

We therefore wish to add our voices to those who have expressed disappointment that the Paralympic Torch will be carried through Harrow at 4am on 29th August.

It is highly questionable first of all whether the rather hurried relay being afforded to the Paralympic Torch truly places it on parity with the Olympic Torch. In addition, we question why Harrow and other areas of London are being robbed of the opportunity to greet the Paralympic Torch with the same enthusiasm and fervour as when the Olympic Torch was carried through.

In our view, holding a relay through the night and early hours of the morning, with the segment through Harrow at 4am, not only undervalues the importance of the Paralympic Games and the contribution the public can make to its promotion and success but suggests that disability is something shameful that needs to be hidden away.

Not far from Harrow, the Paralympics was born at Stoke Mandeville and our borough sees a special stop on the Paralympics Torch Relay at Aspire to honour the magnificent work they do. Rightly, the Paralympic Games is a wondrous opportunity for us all to celebrate the athletic achievements of those courageous men and women who refuse to let disability dispel their dreams of Olympic glory.

Indeed, London’s hosting of the Paralympics is a real opportunity for us all to think about disability not just in sport but in everyday life and the barriers both physical and otherwise that keep people from achieving their best: can we make our buildings and transport more accessible, provide information more inclusively, and are we forgetting anyone?

At 4am, few residents will likely see the Paralympic Torch Relay progressing through Harrow, so we must all work even harder to ensure its light is seen and its message of inspiration is not lost.


Cllr. Susan Hall (Conservative Group Leader)
Cllr. Barry Macleod-Cullinane (Conservative Group Deputy Leader)
Harrow Council

Source: Harrow Conservatives

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