Four nurses and three teachers will join Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at tonight's Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

Mr Clegg will first entertain his guests at a reception he and the Lord Mayor of London David Wootton are hosting at the Guildhall to mark the beginning of the games.

Also among the 700 guests will be heads of state, international sports ministers, International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven, and representatives of disability organisations.

The opening ceremony is due to take place from 8.30pm in the Olympic Stadium.

Mr Clegg said: "The wait has been unbearable, but at last it's time to kick off the next dramatic chapter in a sensational summer of sport with the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

"I'm delighted to have such an inspirational group of people as my guests. Each of these nurses and teachers work tirelessly to improve the lives of young people in their communities. It's fantastic to be able to give something back to them.

"This year the Paralympics are coming home and they are set to be the biggest and the best the world has ever seen, with more athletes, more spectators and more of a focus on boosting the legacy for disability sport."

Among Mr Clegg's guests are four nurses from Sheffield Children's Hospital, all of whom Mr Clegg met when the Olympic Torch visited there.

They are senior staff paediatric nurse Donna Brailsford, 31, who works in the emergency department, modern matron Margaret October, 55, who has worked at the hospital for 26 years, orthopaedic ward nurse Samantha Pollard, 40, and play specialist Charlotte Robinson, 43. All four live in the city of Sheffield.

Also invited are Nick Soar, 39, from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, who is headteacher of Bishop Challoner Girls School in Tower Hamlets, Ian Billyard, 55, from Dorrington, Lincolnshire, principal of Leeds College of Building, and Mike Gledhill, 61, from Leek, Staffordshire, who is headmaster of The Kingsway School in Stockport.

Mr Clegg met all three teachers on visits around the UK.

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  • Swimmer Eleanor Simmonds was, at the age of 13, the youngest British athlete in Beijing

  • Cyclist Neil Fachie

  • Athlete Scott Moorhouse

  • Cyclist Jody Cundy

  • Powerlifter Zoe Newson lifts 60kg weights

  • Judo athletes Jonathan Drane and Marc Powell during a demonstration

  • Great Britain's Powerlifting team (left to right) Anthony Peddle, Jason Irving, Ali Jawad, Zoe Newson and Natalie Blake

  • Cyclists Aileen McGlynn and Helen Scott

  • Sailor Helena Lucas

  • Sailing team Hannah Stodel, Steven Thomas, Niki Birrell, Helena Lucas and front row (left-right) John Robertson and Alexandra Rickham

  • Runner Sally Brown

  • Archer Phil Bottomley (centre)

  • Basketball's Laurie Williams