Four British sporting legends were inducted into the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame. The ceremony was conducted by Martin McElhatton the Chief Executive of WheelPower. It formed part of the finale of the Inter Spinal Unit Games so the awards were given to a group who had recently experienced a spinal injury.
The four proud inductees were: sharp shooter Isabel Newstead MBE, table tennis star Jane Blackburn, the ‘Quadfather’ Peter Norfolk OBE and wheelchair basketball legend Simon Munn. They join a small group of elite British Paralympians with a unique connection to the stadium, the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement and the charity WheelPower.
Peter Norfolk OBE said “It is an honour to be included in the hall of fame.” His message to the audience of people with spinal injury was “There is nothing you can’t do, in this day and age, you can go and do whatever you wish.”
WheelPower Chairman, Kevan Baker said “The Stoke Mandeville hall of fame was introduced in 2003 and honours great men and women within Paralympic sport in this country. It carries on the long tradition of a roll of honour, which dates back to the birth of the Paralympic movement at the stadium in the 1940s. “
About the inductees:
- Isabel Newstead MBE – Paralympic debut in Arnhem 1980 and went on to compete at seven Paralympic Games. At the 1984 Paralympic Games, held at Stoke Mandeville she won nine medals across three sports. She was a trailblazer for women and for athletes with a high-level physical disability.
- Jane Blackburn – Jane competed in five Paralympic Games, from 1972 to 1992. A naturally gifted player Jane was undefeated on the table tennis table between 1972 and 1986, and was Paralympic Champion at four consecutive Paralympic Games. Jane was an all-rounder in the days when athletes competed in multiple sports. Jane was honoured in 2012 when selected as one of the first five torchbearers in the London 2012 Paralympic Torch relay.
- Peter Norfolk OBE – Peter competed in the inaugural Quad Singles Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Competition in 2004 in Athens, winning the gold medal in singles the silver medal in doubles. Peter defended his gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Beijing and won the bronze in the doubles. At the London 2012 Paralympic Games Peter had the honour of leading the Great Britain team into the Opening Ceremony as the flagbearer before winning a silver medal in the Quad Doubles.
- Simon Munn – Wheelchair Basketball – Simon represented Great Britain at an astonishing seven Paralympic Games. He has been an integral part of Great Britain’s wheelchair basketball teamat the 1992, 1996,2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and the 2016 Summer Paralympics winning a silver medal in Atlanta and bronze medals in Sydney, Athens and most recently in Rio last year. In addition to his four Paralympic Medals he won two World Championship silver medals and 11 European medals, four of which were gold.
The ceremony: Took place on the 28th April 2017, the hall of fame presentations were made in front of an audience of over 200 people at the gala dinner event. This was the finale of the National Inter Spinal Unit Games which has been an annual event for 30 years and brings together people who have suffered a spinal injury in the last year. On the first day, 92 participants tried 30 sports and then competed on the second and third days to win medals and shields.