ON the day the Paralympics starts, Prime Minister David Cameron tells The Northern Echo the North-East can lead Britain’s success at the Games.

"THIS year is proving to be the best ever for British sport, and the North-East has been part of it.

"We can look back on a wonderful Olympics – 17 extraordinary days that gripped the country and amazed the world, with great drama, inspiring personal achievements and a recordbreaking haul of medals for Team GB.

"It was fantastic to see local heroes such as Northallerton ’s silver medallist Nicola Wilson on the podium, flying the flag for the area, and confirming the North-East as a home for outstanding sport.

"But the excitement doesn’t stop there. Starting today, we have the chance to do it all again.

"This will be the biggest and best ever Paralympics.

"We’ve sold over 2.3 million tickets and will be welcoming 4,200 athletes from 165 countries. It will mean more heroes, more medals and more great sport for us to enjoy.

"I am delighted to see The Northern Echo is throwing its weight behind the Paralympics, and I know people from across the area will be cheering local athletes, such as Jade Jones, from Middlesbrough.

"The Paralympics can inspire more disabled children to play sport, which is why we’re encouraging schools and sports clubs to be more inclusive.

"But it can also change our attitudes to disability more fundamentally, by showing that people should always be judged on what they can do, not by what they can’t.

"2012 is the year the Paralympics finally return to the country where they began, so it’s another big moment in our history and another chance to show the world what Britain can offer.

"I hope the Games inspire young people – disabled and non-disabled alike – to choose sport and aim to be the very best they can be.

"If the Olympics made us proud, the Paralympics will make us even prouder.

"I am sure the North-East will lead the way – by backing the athletes, supporting the competition and keeping fingers crossed for more medals to come."