Thursday, 21 July 2011

Paralympic Champion Chris Holmes visits the West Midlands to celebrate the London 2012 Open Weekend

• Visits Audio Description Tour of Birmingham Hippodrome

• Tries out circus skills with NoFit State Circus in Circus in the City

• Marking Open Weekend, the national celebration marking one year to go to the start of the London 2012 Games

Chris Holmes, Director of Paralympic Integration for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will visit Birmingham on Saturday 23 July. He visits the city to experience events taking place for the London 2012 Open Weekend, the national celebration marking one year to go until the start of the Games.

Chris Holmes will visit a selection of Open Weekend events, including an Audio Description Tour of Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre. This verbally described tour, organised by the Birmingham Hippodrome and RNIB, aims to enhance the experience of visitors who are blind or partially sighted. Audio-described, captioned and sign-language interpreted performances are already an important and popular part of the theatre’s access provision for patrons.

He will then visit Circus in the City, a major event taking place in Chamberlain Square and part of the Open Weekend celebrations, where he will try out such activities as hula hooping and walking on the tight wire with the acclaimed NoFit State Circus.

Kidderminster-born swimmer Chris Holmes MBE has won a total of nine golds, five silvers and one bronze medal at the Paralympic Games. He is now Director of Paralympic Integration for London 2012.

This year's London 2012 Open Weekend, supported by BP, takes place on Friday 22 – Sunday 24 July 2011, marking the countdown to one year to go to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and showcasing the best of what the UK has to offer in art, dance, film and sport. As part of Open Weekend 2011, there are 60 events taking place in and around West Midlands, with 30,000 people expected to pass through the events in central Birmingham on Saturday 23 July alone.

People getting involved are also encouraged to share their stories and pictures at

Chris Holmes, Head of Paralympic Integration said: ‘It’s always exciting for me to return to the region and to come back in my capacity as Director of Paralympic Integration to see how Birmingham is celebration Open Weekend will be particularly special. With over 60 events taking place across the region in this national weekend of celebration it’s clear that organisations and communities are really gearing up to welcome the world to the UK in just one year’s time.’

David Moorcroft, Chair West Midlands for 2012 said: “With 60 events across the West Midlands, Open Weekend 2011 promises to be a fantastic celebration of a year to go the Games and an opportunity for people across the region to get into the spirit of London 2012 through taking part in creative, sporting and educational activities having their own Olympic or Paralympic moments.”

Liz Leck, Birmingham Hippodrome’s Education and Audience Development Manager said: “The assisted performances we offer are funded by Birmingham Hippodrome with financial support from some of our visiting producers and generous grant-making trusts. Touch Tours, provided for patrons who are visually impaired, have become increasingly popular and are regularly fully subscribed so we are delighted that Chris is able to visit us and experience the work we do here.”

To find out about London 2012 Open Weekend events in your area or to find out about how you can get involved in London 2012 activity in the West Midlands visit

Full details of the 1,200 events taking place across the UK are found at

To tell us how you are involved in or inspired by London 2012 share your events, pictures and 2012 experiences at

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