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Professor Stephen Hawking 'To Appear In Opening Ceremony For London 2012 Paralympics'

21/08/2012 10:27

Professor Stephen Hawking is to star in the opening ceremony for the Paralympics, it has been claimed.

Efforts to shroud the spectacle in secrecy were scuppered after performers heard the scientist's computerised voice during rehearsals, reported the Mirror.

It is hoped the 70-year-old cosmologist will be present at the Olympic Stadium, though due to Hawking's ill health there has been speculation that he may just appear on the big screen.

The author of A Brief History of Time suffers from motor neurone disease and is severely disabled. The Big Bang Theory scientist was forced to miss a symposium arranged in honour of his 70th birthday after being taken to hospital in May.

In 1985 the scientist caught pneumonia which damaged his vocal chords and left him unable to speak.

Although Hawking is English, his synthesised voice sounds slightly American, as his distinctive voice is provided by synthesiser company Speech +. However the 70-year-old has claims it is the "best I have heard, though it gives me an accent that has been described variously as Scandinavian, American or Scottish."

In the wake of Danny Boyle's imaginative opening fantasia for London 2012, speculation is growing over the Paralympic ceremony, dreamed up by artistic directors Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey.

The name of the show was revealed as "Enlightenment" and will open with a fly past by ‘Aerobility’, a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots.

In total the ceremony will feature over 3,000 adult volunteers, over 100 child volunteers and a professional cast of over 100.

Performers, including injured members of the armed forces, will perform static trapeze and rope and pole work.

Hemmings said in May: ‘Jenny and I want our Ceremony to be both spectacular and deeply human at the same time.

"Having worked together in outdoor theatre over a number of years we’re determined that the Ceremony should speak from the heart, whilst rising to the emotional and historic occasion of the homecoming of the Paralympic Games."

Stephen Hawking
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