Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Manchester

Help us celebrate local Paralympic and disability sports heritage by sharing your stories and memorabilia as part of a large exhibition planned for 2020 at the National Football Museum

The Paralympic Games were the surprise heroes of London 2012. Tokyo 2020 is fast approaching, attracting national and international public support and interest. Since 2012, as a nation, we have watched three more games come and go and even a British Paralympian strutting his stuff on Strictly Come Dancing.

But what lies beneath these events is a national story of people coming together from across the UK to learn, support and compete together at an international level in sport. From modest beginnings in the late 1940s at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, wounded veterans were encouraged to use sport as an aid to their rehabilitation from spinal injury inflicted on the battlefront. This led to local competitions, to the Stoke Mandeville Games and to the Paralympic Games. An amazing legacy of many ordinary people discovering a new life through sport, science and technology, and above all, a spirit of mutual respect challenging attitudes to disability. They have been directly influenced by their own community and local clubs and supported by their coaches, friends and families. The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) feels that these stories are as much part of the history of the Paralympic movement as the roots it has at Stoke Mandeville.

Our mission between now and 2022 is to work towards mapping and documenting this national story through regional exhibitions like this one planned for Manchester in collaboration with the National Football Museum. The exhibition will run from 26th June 2020 until the end of January 2021.

Vicky Hope-Walker, CEO for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust says, 


As well as telling the national story, we really want to share the local stories of how people have been inspired by disability sport to develop themselves and others. Who better to tell that story than the very people in that region? So, we would love to invite local people to contribute to the Manchester Exhibition by getting in touch about any memorabilia (tickets, medals, clothing, photos, programmes, personal stories) they would like to share in this exhibition and have documented as part of our work. We would love to record interviews from past Paralympians, athletes, coaches, officials and families who have been part of the Paralympic and disability sports journey so far.

Tim Desmond, CEO for the National Football Museum says

We’re very much looking forward to our involvement with this important major exhibition.  Our social purpose is equal opportunity for all to enjoy football culture and with the exhibition we will be able to see in real terms how sport is for everyone.

Our mission is sharing stories about football and in particular we’re hoping to hear from people who have objects and memories to share about their involvement with disability football.

Please share any stories and ideas you have with our Exhibition Co-Ordinator, Hannah Freeman, [email protected] before the end of February.

For Media Enquiries

Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager, National Paralympic Heritage Trust: 07776 471066

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. heritagefund.org.uk Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NLHFsupported.

About the National Paralympic Heritage Trust

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) has been established ‘to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life’.

The heritage tells the history of a remarkable movement beginning with the arrival of Dr Guttmann as a Jewish refugee from Germany in 1943 through to the many individual who have been part of the movement. It is a journey that has had profound effects on the lives of many disabled people and their families. It has led the way in changing attitudes towards disabled people and influenced the development of new medical, scientific and engineering technologies to better support them. It is a tale still unfolding with further significant developments during and since the success of London 2012. 

The four founding members of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust are the British Paralympic Association, WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport, Aylesbury Vale District Council, and Buckinghamshire County Council. Contributing partners include the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation, the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Buckinghamshire County Museum Trust and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies.

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About the National Football Museum

The National Football Museum is a registered charity. It was established and its collection acquired thanks to £9.3m investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Its vision is to become a leading national museum by 2022, exploring why football is the game of our lives.  The museum’s social purpose is to provide equal opportunity for all to enjoy football culture.  

In January 2019, the museum became a charging attraction.  All visitors except for those living within the Manchester City Council boundary now pay an admission fee. School groups within the Manchester City Council boundary are also admitted free of charge.

Opening Times:
Seven days a week 10am – 5pm Last admissions 4.30pm.
Open every day excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The venue is fully accessible for wheelchair access.
Cathedral Gardens, Manchester M4 3BG
www.nationalfootballmuseum.com