Hugh was a member of the GB team who went to the 1964 Tokyo Games; with Paul Lyall they won the bronze medal in the Table Tennis Men’s Doubles B competition. Hugh also competed in the snooker event. 

Hugh with Mick Jones ©Hugh Stewart-Mackenzie

Early life

Hugh was born in 1942 and was brought up in Folkestone. He was an active boy, playing football for his school and swimming regularly.  At 15 years old, he had a cycling accident on his way to school and suffered a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralysed. He was brought to Stoke Mandeville where he spent many months recovering. It soon became clear that he would not be able to continue with his sport, the way he did before the accident.

Despite being stuck in a wheelchair he remained happy and cheerful, and the doctors described him as one of the most joyful patients they had ever been around. He worked hard on his recovery and for several years, he lived at the Duchess of Gloucester House (known as DoG House) in Isleworth where he spent his time together with others with a spinal cord injury. DoG House had sports facilities to aid with continued rehabilitation, introducing Hugh to wheelchair sport as part of his rehabilitation journey.

Hugh about his life at DoG House:

It’s rather like the Ritz. There’s a special gymnasium, an indoor basketball pitch and also snooker and table tennis rooms. There are about 70 men and 7 girls living there.

The sport and continued support motivated Hugh to go back to school. He later started a job for an electronics firm at Isleworth to fund his sporting career and even learnt to drive his own car across London.

Life as a Paralympic athlete

Hugh fell in love with wheelchair sport during his rehabilitation. His main focus was on table tennis, but he also enjoyed billiard and basketball. During his table tennis training, he competed against both able-bodied and wheelchair athletes. He won a gold medal for table tennis in the British National Paraplegic Games and was soon selected as part of the GB team.

As a result of his national successes, Hugh was sent to compete at the 1964 Tokyo Games. Together with Paul Lyall he won the bronze medal in the Table Tennis Men’s Doubles B competition. He also competed in the snooker event. After the Games he continued to compete internationally in table tennis, snooker and wheelchair basketball for several years.

©Hugh Stewart-Mackenzie

Retirement as a Paralympic athlete

After retiring from the Sport, Hugh often spoke about how he had remained positive despite the disability. He organised several fundraising events, raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association and wrote a book called ‘The Cheeks on my seat’ about his life in a wheelchair. The book was completed by his wife Margaret after Hugh’s Death in 2010, aged 68. It is published and distributed by the Spinal Injuries Association.


  • The Cheeks on my seat, book by Hugh G. Stewart Mackenzie
  • Newspaper clippings, various