On Saturday 24th March 2018, the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT), launched its first regional exhibition at Norwich Cathedral.  During this enjoyable day we were fortunate to welcome local organisations; Active Norfolk, Norfolk Tennis and Norfolk Boccia. Also attending, were local Paralympians; Cyclist Iain Dawson, Athlete Danny Nobbs and Sledge Hockey player Naomi Adi. Iain and Danny have shared their stories of disability sport with young Film Maker, Ella Glendining who has incorporated it into a specially commissioned film for the exhibition.

Regional Stories Exhibition display at Norwich Cathedral Regional Stories Exhibition display at Norwich Cathedral Regional Stories Exhibition display at Norwich Cathedral

Iain Dawson, spoke about his work with children and young people in the community, saying,

I was really keen to get involved in the Paralympic Heritage project. It's important to chart the history of disability sport from a local to international level. I hope that the exhibition and associated activities will help to inspire the next generation to get involved in Paralympic sports and to lead an active lifestyle.

The Dean of Norwich Cathedral who opened the launch said,

We are delighted to be hosting the Paralympics Exhibition in the Cathedral as this is an opportunity for all who visit to learn about athletes who have reached the top of their sport demonstrating their skill, perseverance and determination to overcome difficulties, which is an inspiration to us all. We hope that many people will come to the Cathedral to enjoy the exhibition and the magnificence of the space in which it is set.

Paul Mainds, Chairman of the NPHT, said,

This is a very important day for the NPHT and we are enormously grateful to both the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral for their welcome and enthusiasm, enabling us to launch the first of many exhibitions celebrating the unique story of how one man’s vision developed into the worldwide Paralympic Movement. This exhibition, with so much local content, absolutely reflects the Trust’s wish to work closely with local communities, individuals and heritage organisations to bring these special stories to life.

The exhibition is open to the public until Tuesday 22nd May and features unique displays capturing the history of the British Paralympic movement including films and photos of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann and a range of equipment and memorabilia, some of which had been at risk of being lost to the nation.

One of the highlights will be a Celebrating Diversity event on the 21st April with the opportunity to try the Paralympic sport of Boccia and meet local Para Sport organisations.  In addition, there will be sessions for local schools.

The NPHT exists to care for and share the heritage of the British Paralympic Movement. Norwich is the first of many venues that will host special exhibitions. As part of a five-year project, exhibitions will also be held at venues in Manchester, Bradford, Bath and London.  The story all started 70 years ago when Dr Ludwig Guttmann used sport as an aid to recovery for returning, badly-injured Servicemen.  In 1948 the first Stoke Mandeville Games was staged, the foundation for the Paralympic movement.

Funding support has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Spirit of 2012, Norfolk Community Foundation, Jarrold and Norwich Cathedral.

We would love to hear from anyone who has any stories or memorabilia that are part of the history of the British Paralympic Movement – no matter how small. Contact us here

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