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Brighton war hero flew the flag at Paralympics closing ceremony
3:10pm Monday 10th September 2012 in News
A war hero from Brighton who lost both legs in a blast on the battlefields of Helmand helped close the Paralympic Games last night.
Captain Luke Sinnott, who was also celebrating his birthday yesterday (September 9), provided an emotional and fitting end to the London games - by climbing a flagpole and proudly flying the Union Flag.
The courageous 32-year-old, who serves with 33 EOD Regiment and lives in Brighton, lost his limbs in 2010 after volunteering to search an area “saturated” with improvised explosive devices to protect his comrades.
Organisers described his role in the ceremony as “a supreme feat of strength and courage”.
Stephen Daldry, London 2012 ’s executive producer for all the opening and closing ceremonies described the flag unveiling as “devastatingly emotional”.
Capt Sinnott, a keen sailor, is working towards his dream of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in a boat funded by Help for Heroes.
Comrades from the charity played a key role in the opening minutes of the ceremony to support Capt Sinnott.
The team joined forces to manoeuvre a heavy-wheeled machine to raise the flagpole.
Closing ceremonies artistic director Kim Gavin said: “We worked quite hard since April to get their performance right - it is really their endeavour.
“It is really a team effort from their point of view and has been quite emotional when you go down there and have worked with them.
“They are a fantastic bunch of people and they have been so collaborative as well.”
Capt Sinnott said: “Every day I step out the door it’s obvious to most from my scars and prosthetic limbs that I must be an injured soldier which at first I struggled to except.
“With continued support from the Armed forces and charities like Help for Heroes helping me to realise my true potential and to take pride in my status, I was soon proudly wearing my injuries and I am honoured to be a member of such a truly amazing group of people.
“We are constantly raising the bar and pushing each other to excel at everything we do.
“To my fellow injured service man it’s just what we do, we don’t always understand why it’s so amazing to see a man with no legs doing what to many seems impossible, to us it’s impossible to let any challenge beat us and I think that’s true of every disabled person I’ve ever met.
“The closing ceremony is the biggest stage in the world and I was nervous and excited at the same time.
“It was the greatest honour to be raising the British flag in such a spectacular way to mark the greatest Paralympic event since its conception and hopefully with the most successful GB team there has ever been watching.”
Fifty four drummers created an avenue through which the Earl of Wessex, representing the Queen, and International Paralympic Committee chairman Sir Philip Craven entered the stadium.
They arrived in a custom-built car that began life as a military vehicle used in Afghanistan and was driven by Captain Tony Harris, who lost his left leg below the knee when he was caught in a blast in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009.