City liverymen from accountants and barbers to wheelwrights and woolmen came to listen to Sir Philip Craven MBE, President of the International Paralympic Committee. He focused on the 2012 London Games, reflecting on how it advanced their vision of enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve excellence and inspire and excite the world. The games had been a clear success, exuding the values of determination, courage, inspiration and equality; with 4,237 athletes taking part in over 500 medal events, the games had been a real demonstration of their motto, 'spirit in motion'.
Sir Philip said the energy and commitment of all involved had been a true inspiration to the collective athletes. More than this though had been the impact they had on everyone in terms of changing attitudes to the impaired - opening minds to the wonder within everyone no matter what their physical body suggested.
He was keen to emphasise the movement was not just focused on supreme athletes but on ordinary people striving for their best - being aware of what they can achieve as opposed to what they can't. Another major thrust was the importance of consistently articulated vision and values creating a legacy for future generations through superhuman efforts. He quoted a child as an illustration: "Long John Silver didn't have an arm, and had a wooden leg - he must have been an athlete!"
In thanking Sir Philip, the Master, Charles Cowling, said his theme of making a difference in the lives of others had been visibly enacted and the lesson was to look beyond what we see at first impression to the ability that is within everyone.
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