Stoke Mandeville

National Paralympic Heritage Centre opens at Stoke Mandeville Stadium

16/04/2019 09:15:25


The National Paralympic Heritage Centre celebrating the Paralympic Games that were founded by professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann in 1948 has opened at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.


The National Paralympic Heritage Trust is responsible for the Centre with grant funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, AiM Biffa and Rothschild Foundation.


The centre had a VIP and press preview day on March 29th before opening to the public for the first time in a grand ceremony on Saturday March 30th.


The VIP day had almost 200 attendees from all over the country, and was honoured to welcome members of the Guttmann family.


Also in attendance were Sir Philip Craven – President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Margaret Maughan - first ever Gold Medallist ever at the Paralympic Games and the lady who lit the cauldron at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, as well as Sally Haynes - who attended the first ever Paralympic games in Rome and competed in three Games. Sally was born and bred in Aylesbury and was treated in her rehabilitation by Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann himself, She went on to run the Finmere Show that raised funding from 1959 to 2008.


The public opening attracted over 500 people. Visitors were treated to a tour of the new centre, and had the chance to meet discus thrower, John Harris, who won gold at the 1984 Paralympic Games. There was also a performance from drama group 'I have a voice too', an Aylesbury-based non-profit organisation, which provides social engagement opportunities by organising performing arts and craft workshops.


Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust said:

“We are delighted to open this accessible high quality small-museum celebrating this important local, national and international history. Telling the story of the Paralympics from its birth in 1948 through to today, with displays including areas on Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a Timeline, Wheelchair Sport and Celebrations.

In addition, it celebrates the story of the Stadium itself through to the present day and the role of WheelPower and More Leisure in moving this story forward. We have received some great feedback and if anyone wants a tour they just need to book via our website or phone us.”


Steve Nelson, More Leisure’s Partnership Director for National Sports Centres, said:

“We’re very proud to have the National Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. I know how much work has gone into the development of this facility, and to see it full of visitors for the grand opening was culmination of all the hard work done by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust and Wheelpower teams, in partnership with my own team here at the stadium.”

“If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend a visit. It’s important that the work of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann and the people who have carried on his vision are remembered and celebrated like this.”


Displays at the new centre will showcase the determination, sportsmanship and vision that gave the world the Paralympic Games. Visitors will be able to learn about the life and work of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, as well as key milestones in the journey from the 1948 Stoke Mandeville Games to the present day Paralympic Games.



For further information, please contact:

Rasha Al-Harithi - Marketing Executive



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