AS the curtain falls on the 2012 Olympic Games, the Paralympic Torch is making its way to Wearside.
People will have the chance to see the special flame when it arrives in Washington on Saturday.
The Paralympic Torch is making a special tour of the UK, ahead of the Paralympic Games’ opening ceremony on August 29.
Some 620 torches will be used in the 24-hour relay, which goes from Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury, the home of the Paralympic Movement, to the Olympic Park in Stratford, London, for the start of the Games.
The tour includes a special flame celebration event at Beamish Museum on August 24, when visitors will be able to try a variety of disability sports.
On Saturday, it will be at Sainsbury’s in The Galleries, Washington, from 9.30am, where people will have the opportunity to be pictured holding the torch.
The supermarket chain is the sole sponsor of the games, which run until September 9.
Store manager Malcolm Mitchell said: “We’ve really enjoyed playing our part in raising awareness of the London 2012 Paralympic Games in Washington.
“For our customers, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to see the torch and feel the buzz of the Paralympic Games, which is now just a few weeks away”.
The Paralympics kicks off with sports including women’s cycling and men’s goal ball, when the British team take on Lithuania.
Wearsider Hazel Robson is hoping to clinch a gold for Team GB.
The 32-year-old sprinter from Sunderland, who has cerebral palsy, said it would be a “fairytale” to win a medal on home soil.
A record 2.1million tickets have already been sold for the Paralympics, out of 2.5million put on sale.
Prices start at £10 or £5 for young people and pensioners.
International Paralympic committee president Sir Philip Craven said: “To have sold the most ever tickets for a Paralympic Games three weeks before the opening ceremony is absolutely fantastic and shows the insatiable appetite the public has for top-class elite sport.
“Normally the busiest sales period for the Paralympic Games is once the Olympics have begun.
“The difference in London however, is that ahead of the Games starting we had sold over 1.4million tickets, giving us a great platform with which to build from.
“So far London has delivered a quite spectacular Olympic Games, which has further whetted the appetite of the public ahead of the Paralympics.
“Our aim now is to sell every single ticket.
“It would be fitting that when the Paralympic Movement returns to its spiritual birthplace in three weeks time, it does so in front of packed sold-out venues.”
See www.tickets.london2012.com and www.london2012.com/paralympics for more information.