And so the 2012 Paralympics got off to a rousing start last night as Professor Steven Hawking opened the ceremony with a monologue about humanity and science.

"Ever since the dawn of civilisation people have craved for an understanding of the underlying order of the world, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."

Athletes then took to the stage

As the crowd roared their approval Seb Coe said that these games are what the Olympic spirit is about. Before it was left to the Queen accompanied to officially open the ceremony.

"Welcome home to the Paralympic Games."

"Welcome home to a movement that shows what sport is all about."

The opening ceremony signalled the start of 11 days of competition by 4,200 athletes from 164 countries, including more than 300 athletes from the home nation. Right back, to where it started 60 years ago. Today's opening events will feature Wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming and track cycling. So stay right here with me Ann Salter for all the latest Paralympics coverage at

Written and presented by Ann Salter