15th July 2019

The Bradford district’s Paralympic heritage is to be celebrated at a special event to be held at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley on Saturday 20 July.

Para triathlete, Stuart Meikle will start the runners off for the Paralympic parkrun ‘takeover’ along with Bradford’s Young Disability Sports Person of the Year 2018, Joshua Pullen, and the London 2012 Paralympian mascot, Mandeville.

People can take part in the parkrun by registering at www.parkrun.org.uk or just come along and the cheer on the runners.

There will be photo opportunities for visitors to hold the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics torch and to meet Paralympians, Paul Cartwright and Kevan Baker OBE. Paralympic-themed craft activities will be available and people can try a disability sports at special taster sessions between 11:30-1pm. The crowds and runners will be entertained by the Bradford Concert Band.

The celebratory event has been organised as part of Cliffe Castle Museum’s exhibition, Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford and Keighley which opened in June and runs until 3 November. The exhibition explores the development of the Paralympic Movement illustrating how attitudes and support for disability sport has changed over the decades. It features stories and memorabilia from Paralympians, past and present, all of whom have contributed to this inspiring part of British history.

The local stories include para athlete, Kevan Baker who won two bronze medals for discus in the 1970s and 1980s and has remained involved in the promotion of disability sport ever since. Paul Cartwright - one of the pioneers of wheelchair racing who led the way in both wheelchair and sportswear design. Sally Hurst, a para-cyclist, BBC journalist and Bradford district's most recent equestrian gold medallists in the Special Olympics’, James Reed-Griffiths and T-Jay Wilson.

Heather Millard, Social History Curator at Cliffe Castle Museum, said:

It’s been a real pleasure to see this exhibition taking shape, and the local stories uncovered. It’s already been full of memorable moments, from meeting Kevan Baker, to seeing Paul Cartwright’s wheelchair being installed into position in the museum’s domehouse.  We hope this exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum and Park will produce many more such memories for everyone.

Vicky Hope-Walker,  CEO at the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, said:

The Cliffe Castle exhibition is on a small scale with the extraordinary highlight of Paul Cartwright’s prototype, Yorkshire designed and built, 1985 three wheel racing wheelchair being suspended in the glass dome. Lit at night it is a beacon and work of art, highlighting the pioneering work of our country’s early Paralympians. Added to this is a celebration of Bradford district's two most recent Special Equestrian Gold Olympians, James Reed-Griffiths and T-J Wilson. This work fits in perfectly with the eclectic collection at this beautiful museum.

A family activity sheet will be available daily and people can arrange to explore items through touch using a specially selected handling collection.

The story of the Paralympic Movement began at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1948 when a German neurosurgeon, Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, organised an archery competition for D-Day soldiers with spinal injuries to help with their rehabilitation. The success of the competition and transformation he witnessed in his patients spurred him on to develop the Games into an annual event. By 1960, the Games had become so internationally popular that the Italian government agreed to hold the Games in Rome straight after the Olympics. The Paralympic Games was born.

Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann changed the lives of many people with disabilities across the world and started to challenge perceptions of disability in broader society. The story of how he did this and of how supporters and athletes continue to develop his vision is the subject of a series of exhibitions, which includes Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford and Keighley.

The exhibitions are being toured by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust with the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust invites people to share their own memorabilia and stories which will be documented as part of a national archive record.

More information can be found on our event page.

The celebration events runs on 20 July, 8.30am - 1pm at Cliffe Castle Museum.

Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford and Keighley is on until Sunday, 3 November.

Entry is free.

For Media Enquiries

Cliffe Castle Museum:
Heather Millard, Social History Curator
[email protected]

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