The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) is presenting its first regional exhibition in Norwich Cathedral from 24th March – 22nd May 2018.
The exhibition shares the inspirational stories and heritage of the British Paralympic Movement which started 70 years ago when Sir Ludwig Guttmann used sport as an aid to recovery for returning, badly-injured Servicemen. In 1948 the first Stoke Mandeville Games were staged, the foundation for the Paralympic movement.
The exhibition will feature unique items including a range of sporting equipment and memorabilia some of which had been at risk of being lost to the nation. Visitors can find out about lesser-known sports such as Goalball and Boccia with the support of local bodies such as Active Norfolk and national organisations including Goalball UK. Forthcoming regional exhibitions are planned in Manchester, Bradford, Bath and London. With a permanent Heritage Centre planned for November 2018 at the home of the Paralympic Movement, Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Funding partners include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Spirit of 2012, Norfolk Community Foundation, Jarrold and Norwich Cathedral.
The NPHT is inviting people to share any of their own memorabilia and stories for documenting as part of a national archive record. More information can be found on the National Paralympic Heritage Trust website at www.paralympicheritage.org.uk.
If you would like to volunteer as a Paralympic Heritage Ambassador at the Exhibition itself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sir Philip Craven, Honorary President of the NPHT, said: “My first recollection of Stoke Mandeville was from the 1967 National Games when as a 17-year-old I saw wheelchair basketball being played outdoors and thus dependent on the weather. Looking back, I recall a small area of not too attractive land sandwiched between the back of a large hospital and a railway embankment. To think that this is where the unique Paralympic sporting spirit was born fuelled by the human energy of the athletes, coaches and volunteers. To know now that this fiery furnace of positive human energy will be remembered for ever makes me very happy.
Paul Mainds, Chair of the National Paralympic Heritage Fund said: “Sports Heritage has a wide appeal to the British Public and we are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their continuing support, enabling us to bring the story of Ludwig Guttmann and the development of the Paralympic movement to a wide range of audiences. While our first job is to protect the unique heritage that could so easily be lost, the real satisfaction will be to share the inspiration of the history which is literally ‘life changing’ and to help break down some of the surviving barriers.”
The Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust and to be the first venue to host this very special exhibition to celebrate sporting heritage. This will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate diversity and to be challenged in our thinking.” Ellen Vanlint of Active Norfolk says, ‘‘It’s fantastic to be able to showcase some of the fascinating Paralympic Heritage our area has to offer. The history and the amazing stories are really inspiring, and we are really keen to use these to link in to all the current inclusive sporting opportunities in the County.”