FAMILIES lined the streets of Ellesmere Port to welcome the Paralympic flame to the region.
Inspirational flame bearers paraded the flame as part of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay ahead of tonight’s sold-out opening ceremony.
More than 1,500 onlookers cheered as the flame, encased in a lantern, was carried through the streets led by the Ellesmere Port Sea Cadets band.
West Cheshire College hosted an official celebration on Saturday with sporting demonstrations, dance displays and wheelchair basketball.
Official Paralympic mascot Mandeville joined the fun and the celebrations ended with a mascot race won by Heart from the British Heart Foundation.
West Cheshire College student and professional wheelchair basketball player Josh Dunn, 18, had started the celebrations by travelling to London on Friday to collect the flame.
He met prime minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson before returning for the procession.
Flame bearers set off from Cheshire Oaks and continued along Stanney Lane to the EPIC leisure centre before reaching the college.
West Cheshire College principal Sara Mogel said: “We were delighted with the turnout for the event on Saturday.
“The flame bearers were all very worthy of having the honour of carrying the lantern in the flame procession so it was fantastic so many members of the local community cheered them on.
“There was a great atmosphere at the event and it is clear Olympic fever is still strong and will continue throughout the Paralympic Games.”
On Monday the flame arrived by boat in Chester and went on display in the Diamond Jubilee Quarter with visitors queuing up to see the flame and have photographs taken.
Celebrations across the borough last four days with events also taking place in Northwich and Winsford.
Stuart Parker, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive member for culture and recreation, said: “The Paralympic procession and celebrations in Ellesmere Port were a truly marvellous occasion.
“It was wonderful to see so many people line the streets to celebrate the achievements and courage of the flamebearers who held the iconic lantern.
“History has again been made in Cheshire West.”
Organisers hope the London 2012 Paralympics will be the biggest Paralympics ever with more than 500 gold medals to be won.
Paralympic GB are hoping to go one better than four years ago when they finished second in the medal table in Beijing.