War heroes and pop stars shared the stage as the London 2012 drew to a close, after six weeks of tears, roars and athletic prowess.

The closing ceremony - billed as the Festival of the Flame - lived up to its name as flame throwers, blazing torches and a gigantic heart of fire lit up the Olympic Stadium.

Captain Luke Sinnott who lost his legs and an arm in a blast on the battlefields of Helmand tonight helped close the Paralympic Games - by climbing a flagpole and proudly flying the Union Flag.

The courageous 32-year-old lost his limbs in 2010 after volunteering to search an area "saturated" with improvised explosive devices to protect his comrades.

closing ceremony

A scene during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London

Stephen Daldry, London 2012's executive producer for all the opening and closing ceremonies described the flag unveiling as "devastatingly emotional".

Capt Sinnott, a keen sailor, is working towards his dream of competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in a boat funded by Help for Heroes.

Fifty four drummers created an avenue through which the Earl of Wessex, representing the Queen, and International Paralympic Committee chairman Sir Philip Craven entered the stadium.

They arrived in a custom-built car that began life as a military vehicle used in Afghanistan and was driven by Captain Tony Harris, who lost his left leg below the knee when he was caught in a blast in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2009.

Blind autistic singer Lissa Hermans, who also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year, sang the National Anthem.

paralympics closing

Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium

British megastars Coldplay played to an enraptured crowd, who sang along to hits including Yellow, Paradise and Us Against The World.

Drummer Mat Fraser, who was born with short arms after his mother took the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy, played with the band in one of the biggest gigs of their lives.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin said: "Being asked to play at the closing celebrations for the Paralympic athletes in London is such a great honour for us.

"We were excited to try to create a performance for the last night of the games that closed London 2012 in style."

Swirling neon lights engulfed the stadium as Coldplay played, with each seat in the 80,000 seater stadium glowing in pinks, oranges, yellows, greens and blues.

The band duetted with US star Rihanna on Princess of China.

She said: "Being at the Paralympics is the biggest honour. These athletes are gladiators and are a true inspiration to me."

She later sang her hit We Found Love, in an orange jumpsuit and dangling from an ornate silver chair, suspended above black-clad dancers.

Rihanna led into Coldplay's Viva La Vida, an instrumental version of the song had earlier played in the Paralympic athletes as they came into the stadium.

The ceremony included some stunning effects and over 1,000 performers, including a cast of disabled artists, who had spent weeks learning circus skills for the show.

weir storey

Great Britain's flag bearers Sarah Storey and David Weir during the Closing Ceremony

The Paralympic Orchestra played as London mayor Boris Johnson passed the Paralympic Flag to the mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe told the packed stadium: "I want to share with you two stories from these days. Everyone will have their own tales to tell, but these are mine.

"I was travelling on the tube when I met someone wearing the familiar purple uniform and a pass marked Medic. A games maker.

"His name was Andrew and he told me he was a doctor at St Mary's hospital on his way to help out at Boxing.

"But when I tried to thank him, he wouldn't let me. He said he was the one who wanted to do the thanking. And as we did a very British dance over who should thank who, he suddenly cut through all the politeness and said: 'I was on duty on 7/7, that awful day.

"'For me this is closure. I wasn't sure I should come or whether I could face it. I'm so glad I did. For I've seen the worst of mankind and now I've seen the best of mankind'."

He also told the story of Gamesmaker Emily, a wheelchair basketball player who said the Games had "lifted the cloud of limitation."

He concluded: "There are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity.

"We have stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

"London 2012. Made in Britain."

Teenage swimming star - and face of the games - Ellie Simmonds, 17, was joined by sprinting sensation Jonnie Peacock, 19, to play a part in the final moments of the Games.

coldplay

Coldplay and Rihanna duet at the Paralympics Closing Ceremony

As the Paralympic cauldron was extinguished they transferred the final flame to a London Paralympic Torch, which was then used to light hundreds of torches held by members of the cast throughout the field of play.

Coldplay, Rihanna, and rap superstar Jay-Z played as the flame spread across the stadium, singing Run This Town and a special version of Paradise.

Fountains of water rose from circular stages to finally extinguish the Paralympic Flame.

The send-off ended with a spectacular firework display that flashed over the Olympic Stadium and Park.

Fireworks lit up the sky along the Thames, including Tower Bridge and the words "Thank you London, thank you UK" were projected onto the Houses of Parliament.

Before the ceremony, Johnson told Channel 4's Jon Snow he wanted to see a legacy beyond the Games infrastructure "we also want to see a social legacy, a cultural legacy."

He said it was his job as Mayor to work out how to capitalise on the goodwill seen around London and the enthusiasm of the London 2012 volunteers.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Snow: "It's been an absolutely golden of British sport. It's given the country a great lift, it's brought people together, it's given the public a great lift.

"There's so much that's brilliant in Britain and I think that spirit will stay alive even when the events have finished.

He said watching the Paralympics had made him reflect on his own disabled son, Ivan, who died in 2009.

"Watching wheelchair rugby, seeing what people in wheelchairs can do and I think back to Ivan and I had some moments of thinking.

"As every parent, you think of all the things they can't do. But actually the Paralympics is about how they are superhuman, about all the things they can do."

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  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Fireworks are let off to signal the end of the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Fireworks are let off during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Fireworks are let off during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    The fireworks go off at the end of the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    The fireworks go off at the end of the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    *ALTERNATE CROP* Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Fireworks explode over the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Rihanna and Coldplay perform during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Members of the public watch a fireworks display from London Bridge, to celebrate the Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony in London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Rihanna performs during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Rihanna and Coldplay perform during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Rihanna performs during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Rihanna performs during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Coldplay and Rihanna duet during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    A scene during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Coldplay perform during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Coldplay perform during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Chris Martin of Coldplay during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Jonny Buckland of Coldplay performs during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony of the London Paralympic Games.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    A performer during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    An inflatable Paralympic Agitos during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Captain Luke Sinnott climbs a flag pole during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: The Union Flag is raised during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: The Paralympic cauldron flame burns as performers carry torches during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Pyrotechnics burn during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Flag bearers carry their national flags during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Pyrotechnics burn during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Closing Ceremony

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and President of the IPC Sir Philip Craven MBE arrive in the arena during the closing ceremony on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    A performer during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Coldplay perform during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (left), arrives with IPC President Sir Philip Craven during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    A scene during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    General View of performers during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    General View of performers during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    General View of performers during the closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Performers during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Ireland's Michael McKillop (top left) is seen above the heat haze from the flame after receiving his gold medal for being named the best athlete who best exemplified the spirit of the Paralympics, during the Paralympic Games closing Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Lance Corporal Rory Mackenzie gives a speech during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 11

    Lance Corporal Rory Mackenzie gives a speech during the Closing Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games 2012 at the Olympic Stadium, London.

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