Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics

Sharing stories of those involved in celebrating the London 2012 Paralympic Games

What's in our Paralympic collection? London 2012 ceremony costumesNational Paralympic Heritage Trust

Head of Costume

Tahra Zafar talks about the costume bible, which was vital for referencing the designs and materials used for the 100s of costumes worn at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The costume bible is currently on display at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre, Stoke Mandeville.

Headdress worn by a performer at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Interview with Tahra Zafar_London 2012


Tahra Zafar, Head of Costume, remembers a wonderful moment during filming for the Ceremony when the Queen asked Daniel Craig if she could have a photo with him for her grandchildren. "I don't know who was more happy!"

Gravity costume worn by a dancer at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

'Gravity' dancer

Vanessa McManus recollects the evening of the Opening Ceremony:
"We had been warned that there would be blinding light flashes from all the cameras and it was true - it was like looking up at a huge night sky with millions of twinkling stars, the atmosphere was incredible!”

British Paralympian Robert Barrett performing at the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Robert Barrett's experience of performing at London 2012

Paralympian and performer

Robert Barrett competed in athletics at the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992 Paralympics.  Here he shares his experience of training to be an aerial circus performer in the ‘Brave New World’ sequence at the Opening Ceremony. Read Robert's full story here. 

Concept models of the stage props for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Set designs for the Ceremonies

Designers created concept models in miniature form for all the props used on the stage before they were created in giant form. These models are part of the London 2012 British Paralympic collection on display at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre.

Daniel from Aylesbury, as part of the London 2012 Children's Promise, was invited to the Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony. (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

London 2012 Children’s Promise

As part of the London 2012 Children’s Promise, Daniel from Aylesbury attended the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and with the other children received a special mention during the Paralympics Opening ceremony. Read more about Daniel’s story here.

Jacket worn by ParalympicsGB athletes at the Opening Ceremony parade at the London 2012 Paralympics. (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Athlete's Parade uniform

This jacket was worn by the ParalympicsGB team in the athlete’s parade. The Great Britain team consisted of 177 men and 109 women who won a total of 120 medals, 34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze, finishing third in the medal table. Donated by the British Paralympic Association.

Paralympian, Margaret Maughan with the Paralympic torch (2012)National Paralympic Heritage Trust

Interview with Caz Walton Paralympian_London 2012

Lighting of the cauldron

Margaret Maughan, the first Paralympic gold medal winner at the Rome 1960 Games, lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony. This signifies the start of the Games and the flame is extinguished at the closing ceremony. Read Margaret's story here. 

Credits: Story

Thank you to Caz Walton OBE, Daniel, Robert Barrett, Tahra Zafar and Vanessa McManus for sharing their stories and to the British Paralympic Association and Getty Images for their contribution.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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