Aylesbury Vale and the growth of the Paralympics part 4

Author: Steve Katon, 4th January 2023

In this final article about the Finmere Show, which was originally organised to raise funds following an riding accident experienced by the promising steeplechaser, Sally Haynes – and going on to be fundamental in providing crucial funds for Paralympic sports – we highlight the outcomes achieved by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust’s ’Stories from Finmere’ project.
The Finmere Horse Show was organised thanks to an incredible community effort, so it was fitting when researching the stories of its inception and history that these conversations brought lots of the same people together after so many years. The project’s main artefact is a film created by the filmmaker, Kay Ashton MBE, for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust. The film, which will be available on the Trust’s website, documents some amazing, enduring memories shared in interviews by many of the residents who made the Show happen.

The film follows Sally Haynes when she revisits the original site of the Show, Hill Leys, in the village of Finmere and shows her meeting some old friends and chatting to local school children. Kay Ashton spent time at Finmere Primary School seeing how the story of the Show inspired the pupils and treated them to a masterclass showing them how to create their own films. Kay’s film will be accompanied by British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and subtitles to ensure it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Many of the oral histories shared by the community have also been captured in a series of podcasts.

To celebrate the wonderful lasting legacy the project will have on the school and community and to ensure the local community’s impact on Paralympic Games will never be forgotten, the National Paralympic Trust will show the film at an inaugural ‘Reminiscence Tea’ to be held at Finmere Village Hall in the spring. The aim is to hold subsequent tea parties to keep these old friendships alive and to cement many new ones.