Former England manager Sam Allardyce will be guest of honour when the flame is lit to mark the start of the Special Olympics National Games Torch Run next week.

The Special Olympics, which will run from August 8-11, is the largest disability multi-sport event to take place in the country this year, with around 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities taking part in 20 events across a dozen venues in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

The torch run and ‘Flame of Hope’ will start in Much Wenlock, Shropshire – home of the modern Olympic Games – on Thursday afternoon and visit 10 towns and cities over a 10-day period before arriving at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium on August 8 for the opening ceremony.

Chris Hull from Special Olympics GB said: “We are thrilled that Sam Allardyce and the League Managers’ Association have stepped forward to help us.

“This helps to raise the profile of Special Olympics athletes – athletes who have learning disability, often forgotten and told in so many areas of their life what they cannot do. The Games will show the world what people with learning disability can achieve and demonstrate their great talents. This is their chance to shine.”