Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park honours Paralympic athletes with orchard

by Alice Wright

A new orchard will open at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this spring to celebrate the most successful Paralympic Games ever.

The orchard was inspired by the use of apples in the 2012 Opening Ceremony. It will be named Mandeville Place, to reflect the fact that the Paralympics started in Stoke Mandeville in 1952, and after the 2012 mascot, Mandeville.

Churchman Landscape Architects and Studio Weave architecture practice have worked with local disabled people to develop the new area.

Mandeville Place will feature apple and other fruit trees alongside other elements, such as a pavilion made from the original Athletes Village Paralympic wall. The Paralympic values of Courage, Determination, Inspiration and Equality will be carved into the ground, as well as Professor Stephen Hawking’s quote from the Opening Ceremony: “Don’t look down at your feet, look up at the sky; be curious”.

Tree-planting has begun and will continue over the coming months. The orchard will include fruit trees native to the homes of the 34 Paralympics GB gold medallists from London 2012. It will also feature a brand new variety of apple – only the third new variety to have been created in the UK in the past 50 years.

A national schools competition was launched to name the new apple variety. The winning name, Paradice Gold, combines the word Paralympic with the first letter of each of the Paralympic values.

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