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13 September 2012
I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics with Heart n Soul. Trust me when I say it was an experience I will never forget. I was amazed to find out that both The Fish Police and Lizzy Emeh, incredibly talented artists with learning disabilities from Heart n Soul, were performing that night and they were amazing!
There is something really special about hearing the roar of 80,000 people when your friends perform, so yeah it was an amazing night. And there’s no harm in me admitting I almost cried too, I think it was when the whole stadium was singing the National Anthem that did it. I’ve never been so proud to be British!
I’m meant to be telling you my best part of the opening ceremony but to be honest I loved every second of it. So that was my experience of the opening ceremony.
Now for the closing ceremony. I wasn’t going to be greedy and go to both ceremonies now was I! I watched the closing ceremony from the comfort of my sofa. What a brilliant way to congratulate London and all the athletes! I loved listening to Coldplay and Rhianna but felt that all of the music performances were really good.
One thing I thought was better at the closing ceremony was the fact that the athletes came in at the beginning instead of at the end. All in all I feel that the Paralympics was a success and Team GB did an outstanding job!
Well done Team GB, you did us proud!
Written By Lilly Cook
12 September 2012
I was really excited to be visiting the Olympic Park for the first time to watch the Paralympic Games.
I came out of Stratford station into the bright sunlight and could feel the buzz of the atmosphere immediately.
I met up with my friends, followed the signs and could soon see the Olympic stadium before me. From inside the stadium you could hear the sound of people cheering and clapping.
We walked past the aquatic centre first. Olympic competitors with learning disabilities are strong at this sport, but sadly my ticket didn’t allow me in to watch here.
Finding our way around the park was quite easy, but it was difficult to judge sometimes how far away the arenas were and how long it would take to get there. The Park turned out to be much bigger than we thought and I was sorry my ticket was only for the day as there are many parts of it that I did not get to see.
As well as the amazing buildings there were also beautiful park areas that I would have liked to have seen more of – but we wanted to see as much sport as we could.
Our first stop was a wheelchair rugby match between Sweden and Canada. I had seen this on TV but it was so much more special to be there and watch it live. It’s very rough and watching these people play made me change my mind that disabled people are somehow weaker than us able-bodied people. This is nonsense of course.
After a quick lunch we made our way to the 7 a side football match. The arena was smaller so we were really close to the action.
I would have liked to see more sports, but places in the various venues were full.
I feel bad that I didn’t pay more attention to the Paralympics before, but having it in London has made TV coverage more frequent and it is being shown at a reasonable time so more people from the UK have had the chance to watch more of it.
The Paralympics has been great for disabled people and able bodied people alike and it would be nice to see some more instead of having to watch the England Football team losing again!
I had a great time and saw some amazing athletes. Well done to team G.B!
Written by Guest Writer, Kate Wreford
12 September 2012
We’re at the Olympic Park – yeeessss! We have managed to hustle some day passes and we’re all set for a great day of sport, butwhat to see first?
We stand looking at the Olympic Park map which is HUGE and it dawns on us just how big this place is. We come to a decision.
Destination: Wheelchair Rugby (once known as Murderball – Yikes!)
Who? Canada V Sweden
Where? The Basket ball arena (a large building that looks to me like a quilted white duvet)
Once outside the entrance to the arena I have a chat to this guy who’s come all the way from Vancouver to see the Canadian team play. We also see a lot of people with yellow T-shirts bearing the name Mikael Walberg No 3. Who is this mysterious character who seems to have legendary status amongst the Swedish people? We are soon to find out.
We settle down in our seats and it’s not long before the players come out to a great guitar shredding heavy metal fanfare. The stage is set!
Wheelchair Rugby – Basic stuff
Each team has to get the ball towards their end of the court and get it through the goal area. They pass to their team by bouncing the ball. There are 12 members of the team and 4 can play at any one time each with different levels of disability. Don’t ask me to explain any more as this is a complex game and very tactical when it comes to choosing who’s going to play and when.
It’s also very physical. Instead of tackling as in plain rugby, the players ram up against each other to block the opposing team’s way. There are times when players will tip up their wheelchairs and fall – usually on their backs, which we saw quite frequently. Within about 30 seconds they’re helped up again and off they go. There were no serious injuries – but it makes you realise this is a sport that you need real guts to play.
Was it exciting? YES. Would I see it again? – definitely
Mikael Walberg forever!
Written by Guest Writer, Kate Wreford
07 September 2012
An explosion of colour, flying people and 3 dimentional universes recently hit The Southbank Centre for the Unlimited Festival.
The Unlimited Festival was made up of 29 projects created by deaf and disabled artists.
One of these projects is the brilliant Dean Rodney Singers exhibit. The Dean Rodney Singers, DRS for short is a global band of 72 musicians and artists and was created by the very talented Dean Rodney.
The DRS exhibit is full of excitement, adventure and interactive fun and suitable for everyone!
Your magical DRS journey will begin as you walk a hall way of vibrant colour which introduces you to all the main members of the Dean Rodney Singers.
Then you will enter the game room, which is full of fun and frolics. Dean’s face appears on all of the different games to welcome you and explain how to play. One of the games was a digital sound mixing deck, where you can lay down some beats and mix some sounds.
Heading into a new area you will become a 3 dimensional and colourful character in Dean’s world. You will see yourself on the big screen and get the chance to bust a move with Dean Rodney and your friends.
Finally you will come to a sensory room where you can rest on bean bags and watch the latest DRS video.
The Unlimited Festival has now finished but don’t worry because the The Dean Rodney Singers plan to take the exhibition on a world tour very soon, so watch this space!
In the mean time check out the Dean Rodney Singers website for the latest adventures and news from the global band.
Another one of the brilliant projects at the Unlimited Festival is gravity-defying outdoor theatre piece ‘The Garden’. Run by disabled theatre company Graeae, The Garden tells the story of a garden protected by keepers and we hear how they have been transformed from visitors into aerial guards who protect the garden.
The theatre piece is a magical fairy tale of colours, song, and keepers suspended on swaying poles. With a staggering story and breath taking moves, The Garden is a pure gem.
To find out about more magical theatre performances check out Graeae’s website.
Special thanks to our team who visited the Festival for all of their hard work – Shalim Ali, Nicola Holley and Lilly Cook.
Written by guest writer, Michelle Stannard
07 September 2012
Poppy Collie interviewed Kali Perkins on her Paralympic experiences and her up and coming performance at The Beautiful Octopus Club in The Southbank Centre on Friday 7 September 2012.
Poppy: Have you been watching the Paralympics?
Kali: I was actually there for it and I had a really great time…I got to meet Beverly Knight and she’s very keen on what you do and make’s you feel welcome. It was a wonderful experience meeting her.
Poppy: What are your highlights of the Paralympics so far?
Kali: Meeting Beverly Knight, the food and the party on the coach.
Poppy: How are you feeling about performing at The Beautiful Octopus Club?
Kali: Really excited! My mum’s gonna be there. It will be nice for people to see what Heart N Soul do. We are like one big happy family.
Poppy: What kind of music do you play?
Kali: Soul and funk. I’m a soul chick.
Poppy: What songs will you be performing?
Kali: All of my new songs. Arthur and I worked very hard to get all of the songs down and they sound great.
Poppy: What are you most looking forward to about your performance?
Kali: Interacting with the audience, seeing family and friends and the after party.
To find out more about The Beautiful Octopus Club event, check out the Heart N Soul website.
07 September 2012
On Friday 7 September 2012 Heart N Soul’s, The Beautiful Octopus Club will be live from The Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre.
They will be coming together to put on a show of a lifetime to celebrate the Olympics and the Paralympic Games being in London.
The Club will be running from 7pm to Midnight and admission will be completely free.
There is wheelchair access, so the event is available to everyone.
That’s not all though! The evening will feature some magic from David Munns and Mat Frazier and Heart N Souls best DJs and VJs will be on hand to entertain you.
There will be lots more for to see and do! To find out more about the evening, visit the Heart N Soul website
So why not come along and enjoy the Party and help us to celebrate the games in style!
Written By Poppy Collie