Sep 9 2012
Stunning effects and raw courage signalled the end of the Paralympic Games in London.
The closing ceremony - billed as the Festival of the Flame - lived up to its name as flame throwers, blazing torches and a gigantic heart of fire lit up the Olympic Stadium.
The crowd had been moved by the grit and determination of legless war hero Captain Luke Sinnott - who hauled himself up a flagpole to proudly fly the Union Flag. The courageous 32-year-old lost his limbs in 2010 after volunteering to search an area "saturated" with improvised explosive devices to protect his comrades.
Blind autistic singer Lissa Hermans, who also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, sang the National Anthem.
The spectacular and moving ceremony was another display of creativity and British eccentricity, and featured global megastars Coldplay, Rihanna and Jay-Z.
The audience roared as Britain's joint flagbearers wheelchair racer David Weir and cyclist Sarah Storey, who each won four golds, were joined by athletes from each country.
London mayor Boris Johnson passed the Paralympic Flag to the mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes.
Teenage swimming star - and face of the games - Ellie Simmonds, 17, was joined by sprinting sensation Jonnie Peacock, 19, to play a part in the final moments of the Games.
As the Paralympic cauldron was extinguished they transferred the final flame to a London Paralympic Torch, which was then used to light hundreds of torches held by members of the cast throughout the field of play.
Fountains of water rose from circular stages to finally extinguish the Paralympic Flame and the stunning send-off ended with a spectacular firework display that flashed over the Olympic Stadium and Park.