The Children's Promise Programme

Every child born on 20th December 2004 - the date 20/12 during the Olympics bid - was eligible to be involved in the Children's Promise programme, highlighting the importance of the community leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

This date was significant because children born on this date would be 7 years, 7 months and 7 days old at the start of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The reason for this is because the number seven is deemed as lucky in Chinese culture and in 2008, China hosted the Olympic Games prior to London.

Daniel Bleasdale, a local boy from Aylesbury, who is now 14 years old (15 on 20th December) was one of many children whom was a part of this exciting opportunity. 

Daniel stood next to a statue of the Mandeville mascot outside Stoke Mandeville Stadium

This display at the Paralympic Heritage Centre, focuses on the items in which Daniel and his family personally archived and collected over his first seven years.

Daniel's story

It all began on 20th December 2004 when Daniel’s parents Helen and Andy Bleasdale gave birth to Daniel three weeks earlier than planned. 

Helen:

Before Daniel was born we saw an article in the paper that said that all babies born on December 20th would be given the chance to take part. My husband said jokingly that it would be good if he was born on that day, and fortunately he was. (Daniel was due to be born three weeks later) It will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and we really hope the London’s bid is successful.

Organisers of the Olympic Bid promised families of every baby born on that date, would have a role in the Olympic and Paralympic Games and that each child would be given the chance to take part in one of the official ceremonies or cultural events associated with the games. Every year, Daniel would receive birthday cards from the organisers, including Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Lord Sebastian Coe. 

Card congratulating the birth of baby Daniel from the Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee

Newspaper article and photo of Daniel as a baby being held by his sister


Meeting “Ade”Adepitan MBE

Signed photo of Ade Adepitan MBE

As well as receiving birthday cards, in 2007 Daniel had the chance to meet Adedoyin Olayiwola "Ade" Adepitan MBE, Wheelchair and Basketball Athlete, at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium to celebrate the five year countdown to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games. This was a fantastic honour and opportunity for Daniel as Ade is a highly renowned sporting athlete and a patron of WheelPower (British Wheelchair Sport). Meeting Ade inspired Daniel to take up wheelchair basketball and he now plays for Aylesbury aces junior team at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

Two years later on his fifth birthday, Daniel also received a letter and a birthday card from the organising committee, signed by Lord Coe himself outlining the current status and progress of the external structure of the Olympic Stadium, which was being built in London at the time. This was to mark the 1,000 day countdown. 

All incredible and exciting milestones which Daniel thoroughly enjoyed being a part of.

Torch Relay

Skip to three years later and the year of 2012 had arrived, along with many exciting events to coincide with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Daniel and many other children whom were part of the 2012 Children’s Promise attended an evening celebrations of the Torch Relay in Oxford. During the event, Daniel got to hold the torch flame and was on stage whilst the cauldron was lit.

Daniel and his dad, Andy, at evening celebrations of the Torch Relay held in Oxford

On the 28th August 2012 The Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony commenced, with the flame Festival stopping off at Stoke Mandeville Stadium first before heading to London. During the event, the children designed lanterns and carried them around the running track to form an award of honour as the four Paralympic Flames; four flames to represent Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England. 

To end the series of events, on the 29th August, Daniel and his family got tickets to watch the fantastic display that was put on for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games held at the Olympic Stadium in London. Daniel and other children who were part of the 2012 Children’s Promise got a special shout out and mention during the ceremony which was an exciting and memorable moment for him and all the family.

Being part of the Paralympic history has made me feel very proud &  special. It was a great honour to play a small part in history and I am happy to share my story. - Daniel

The experiences are something that Daniel and his whole family will never forget and as Daniel said, it made him feel very special. So what about seven years on…….? 

As shown from the amount of archived material shown in this display, it is evident from the items that Daniel and his family have gathered over the years that they were proud to be a part of such a pleasant organised event.

We, at The National Paralympic Heritage Trust feel it is important to tell the stories of those within the community that have a fundamental connection with Stoke Mandeville, especially with 2012 Paralympic Games.  We invite you down to National Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to check out for yourself Daniel’s collection of objects which have been installed specially to mark the event.

Gallery of additional objects in our collection

NPHT collection