We were delighted to receive a fabulous new Flying Start racing wheelchair from Motivation UK this summer, to add to our collections and to use at our events. One of our volunteers had fun putting it together and explaining to us how it could be adapted to suit the needs of many users, before Elaine and I headed off to our first Pop-up Museum event in Canterbury.

The event was an attempt to break the world record of a line of wheelchairs. As well as taking part in the line up, and despite us not breaking the world record, the chair was tried out by many visitors, leading a few wheelchair users to think about taking up the sport or reminisce about being involved in racing in the past.

NPHT pop up museum at the World Record Attempt of the longest line of wheelchairs at Canterbury RFC  NPHT pop up museum at the World Record Attempt of the longest line of wheelchairs at Canterbury RFC

Our next stop was Waddesdon Manor’s family sports day. What a splendid setting! We were beginning to realise what a fantastic attraction this racing wheelchair was proving, drawing people into our tented museum, engaging them in conversations and 'have a go' sessions. The beautifully maintained pathways at the Manor meant that kids were capable of getting up to a real speed, so Rachel our volunteer from the RAF found herself completing an excellent workout by the end of the day, running after enthusiastic users.

NPHT Pop up museum at Waddesdon Manor

So the racing wheelchair continued to draw in the crowds at Bucks County Show, Aylesbury Waterside Festival, RAF Halton family day and our activities at the Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville. It has proved a great conversation starter, looking at and breaking down barriers to disability. Visitors are delighted to know that through the Motivation UK Foundation, equipment is provided to third world countries to bring opportunity to those who cannot afford such equipment. 

   NPHT Pop up museum at Bucks County Show

Cleaned up from the County Show fields, the wheelchair is now ready to be used by school and university groups visiting us at the Paralympic Heritage Centre in the winter months and tried out on the track at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Of course a non-disabled user cannot experience what it is like to be disabled but it does give them a sense of the skills and incredible strength our elite racers achieve.

Thank you to Motivation UK for their donation. The Flying Start was created in collaboration with the IPC’s Agitos Foundation