The Paralympic Heritage Flame was lit today in Stoke Mandeville ©Getty Images

The Paralympic Heritage Flame has been lit in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Games, prior to the start of Beijing 2022 on Friday (March 4).

A ceremony was held in the British village yesterday as part of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games Torch Relay.

Stoke Mandeville is known as the birthplace of the Paralympic Games after Ludwig Guttmann, a German-born English neurosurgeon, took charge of the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

He organised an archery contest among 16 disabled patients in 1948 which evolved into the International Stoke Mandeville Games and then the Paralympic Games.

Wheelchair curling athletes Angie Malone and Aileen Neilson lit the fire which will join eight Torches lit in China to become the Games' official Flame.

"Beijing has the unique distinction of becoming the first city to host both the Summer 2008 and Winter Paralympic Games," said Elizabeth Curzon, Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire who was at the event.

"I would like to congratulate and thank the Chinese for managing to host the Games so successfully under the incredibly challenging circumstances of the pandemic."

Malone won silver at Turin 2006 and bronze at Sochi 2014 in the mixed competition.

Neilson was also on the Sochi 2014 squad and was the first woman to skip a wheelchair curling team in either the Paralympic Games or World Championships.

The ceremony contributes to the Torch Relay beginning in Beijing tomorrow and concluding on the first day of the Games.

The Relay is set to stop at three locations - Zhangjiakou, Yanqing and the capital, which will all stage events at Beijing 2022.

It will begin with a Flame collection ceremony at eight different sites in the three areas throughout the day.

After the ceremonies, the Relay will continue in the Temple of Heaven Park with the theme of "fire in the nine heavens."

March 3 will see the Torch make its way to the Beijing Expo Park before being relayed by more than 20 Torchbearers in a closed loop in the South Park of the Olympic Forest Park.

On the final day, the Beijing Disabled Persons' Culture and Sports Guidance Center and the China Disabled Sports Management Center will handle the Torch before it is used to light the Paralympic Cauldron at the Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics are set to run from March 4 to 13.