Claire Lomas – who is paralysed from the chest down and recently raised £204,000 for Spinal Research by walking the London Marathon – lit the cauldron using the English Flame, which was created by a group of Scouts at Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson watched the lighting ceremony.
David Cameron said, “This is shaping up to be the best, the biggest, the most incredible Paralympic Games ever. We are going to see thousands of athletes giving their all and we are going to see what the Paralympics are all about. We are going to show the world that, when it comes to putting on a show, there is no country like Britain and no city like London.”
During the event, 26 Flame Ambassadors from different parts of Britain collected a splinter of the flame in a lantern to take back to Flame Celebrations across the country.
On 28 August, the English Flame, together with flames from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be taken to Stoke Mandeville, the home of the Paralympic movement, where they will be combined to create the Paralympic Flame.
Later that evening, there will be a 24-hour Torch Relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the start of the Games.
The Paralympic Games run from 29 August to 9 September. Trafalgar Square will be turned into a BT London Live site showing all the action on a big screen.