Mayor's Liberty Festival set to make a splash as it returns for 2014

03 July 2014

For the first time since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, international swimmers will once again compete in the iconic London Aquatics Centre.

Tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) for this major sporting event, being held as part of National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival, which returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Saturday August 30.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, a day of celebrations is taking place across the country, including a free family festival in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, showcasing the very best in disability sports and arts from 12pm-6pm.

Exactly two years to the day since Great Britain won its first medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, sporting superstars, including 10 ParalympicsGB medallists from London 2012, will return to the water at the London Aquatics Centre for two thrilling sessions of racing. Also set to excite spectators will be the stars of Boccia, Goalball and Wheelchair Basketball. Top athletes from these three Paralympic sports will be in action at the Copper Box Arena, the venue of last year’s event which saw 6,000 supporters cheer on the very best British and international athletes.

Tickets for these events and for the swimming sessions go on sale today at QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk and will cost just £5 per person. Tickets go on sale from 9am this Friday, 4 July.

Plenty of free, family friendly activities and entertainment will also be taking place across the Park, including the chance to try out different disability and inclusive sports such as wheelchair basketball, inclusive cycling, tennis and boccia. Representatives from community groups and disability sports project Motivate East will be on hand to provide advice about opportunities to take up sports or get involved in the local area. There will even be the chance to meet some of the stars of London 2012.

The Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival, the hugely popular annual showcase of Deaf and disabled artists will again be bringing an exciting line-up of street theatre, dance, live music, film, installations and children's activities. Moxie Brawl, who will be evoking the spirit of the 1940s; Deaf Men Dancing, whose duet 'Nettle Dance', takes its inspiration from artists Gilbert and George; singer Ren Harvieu, acclaimed for her top five album 'Through the Night'; a special digital music making experience from Heart n Soul; and 'The Gift', an immersive sound installation from Jez Colborne and Mind the Gap.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: 'With Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park now transformed and fully open, National Paralympic Day will be even better than last year's successful event. Whether you are disabled or not, we're putting on a fantastic line-up of top flight sporting action as well as some brilliant arts and performance. It's going to be one of the best events this summer.'

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Board Member of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: 'Thousands of families enjoyed a day of disability sport and culture at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2013 and we’re thrilled to be hosting an even bigger and better event this year. Events like this are vital to ensuring that the momentum from the London 2012 Paralympic Games continues to inspire disabled and non-disabled people to take up sport, try arts and make the most of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.'

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, welcomed the return of National Paralympic Day. He said: 'I’m delighted that we have been able to build on the fantastic success of last year’s event and include a range of sports on the competition programme at National Paralympic Day 2014.

'The day will have plenty for visitors to enjoy, but it is particularly fantastic to be returning to the London Aquatics Centre to enjoy the swimming and cheer on British athletes, much in the same way that we supported them during those incredible days of London 2012. 'National Paralympic Day is another opportunity for our fans to enjoy fantastic sport and to engage with our amazing athletes and we hope that the public will enjoy the day as much this year as they did in 2013.'

Presented by the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the British Paralympic Association, National Paralympic Day featuring the Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival is generously supported by the charity, Spirit of 2012 (Spirit) and Arts Council England.

Spirit was established by the Big Lottery Fund last year, with an endowment of £46m from the sale of the Olympic and Paralympic village. It is working to ensure the spirit that radiated from the London 2012 Games can be felt by everyone, everywhere. It is investing in happiness; supporting those providing opportunities in sports, the arts and volunteering.

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive of Spirit said: “The Paralympic movement has changed the way we view disability; it is absolutely key to Spirit’s vision that we boost this momentum. We are thrilled to support National Paralympic Day. It is an event that can capture the public’s imagination, promoting positive and engaging role models for young disabled athletes, and showcasing achievements that challenge limited perceptions of what it means to be disabled.”

Details on ticketing for the sessions of sport in the London Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena can be found at QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk, and more information on regional events will be announced soon.

Notes to editors

  • National Paralympic Day featuring Mayor of London’s Liberty Festival is brought to you by the Mayor of London, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the British Paralympic Association. Now in its second year, National Paralympic Day was first held on Saturday 7 September 2013 to celebrate one year since the London 2012 Paralympic Games. In 2014 the event will continue to relive the spirit of the Games through the very best of disability sports and arts. For more information visit QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk.
  • The Mayor of London's Liberty Festival has over the past decade been the UK's most high profile platform for Deaf and disabled artists, helping pave the way for events such as 'Unlimited', which was staged as part of the London 2012 Festival. Liberty is organised by the Mayor and supported with Lottery funding by Arts Council England. For more information go to www.london.gov.uk/liberty. For more information please contact Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 / email [email protected].
  • London’s newest visitor destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is a place unlike any other. Visitors to the Park are able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter. For more information contact the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Press Office on +44 (0) 20 3734 9010 or email [email protected]
  • Motivate East offers disabled people living around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park the chance to participate in new sport and physical activity. It is delivered by the London Legacy Development Corporation in partnership with London Sport, UEL, WheelPower and the Bromley-by-Bow Centre. The project is funded by Sport England and the London Legacy Development Corporation with additional funding coming from local boroughs, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and WheelPower. For more information visit MotivateEast.co.uk.
  • Spirit of 2012 was established by the Big Lottery Fund with an endowment of £46m from the sale of the Olympic and Paralympic villages. It believes in equal chances; working to ensure the country as a whole benefits from the values, opportunities and spirit of events such as the London Games. By connecting events to communities across the UK, it ensures investment is of local, regional and national benefit. It tackles isolation and disadvantage by supporting those providing opportunities in sports, the arts and volunteering. It is investing in happiness; empowering people to get out, be involved and feel better. It is chaired by Duglad Mackie.
  • About The British Paralympic Association Please direct media enquiries to Tash Carpenter, Communications Manager or Katherine Allin, Communications Officer, via our Press Office email [email protected] or the duty press office phone 07717 587 055. The British Paralympic Association is the National Paralympic Committee for the UK, responsible for the promotion of the Paralympic movement in Great Britain and selecting, entering and funding the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic team. ParalympicsGB is the name for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic Team that competes at the summer and winter Paralympic Games. The Team is selected and managed by the British Paralympic Association, in conjunction with the national governing bodies, and is made up of the best sportsmen and women who compete in the 22 summer and four winter sports on the Paralympic Programme. There is only one Paralympic team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland; ParalympicsGB. There is not a Paralympic Swimming team or Paralympic Tennis team. The individual sports join to become ParalympicsGB, the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Paralympic Team. We are proud of our tradition of outstanding performance at the Paralympic Games: ParalympicsGB finished second in the medals table at three consecutive summer Paralympic Games and won 120 medals at London 2012. The BPA would like to thank the National Lottery and our official partners adidas, BP, BT, Deloitte, EDF Energy, Hogan Lovells, Mondelēz International, Nissan and Sainsbury’s for their support.
  • Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk