The legacy 10 years on! Paralympic Heritage exhibition launches at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

To celebrate and commemorate the 10th anniversary of the London Olympics and Paralympic Games, Paralympic Heritage: Stories from London 2012 launched on Monday 11th April at the Lee Valley Velopark, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

Olympic cyclist Dame Laura Kenny, Paralympic cyclists Lora and Neil Fachie, and Paralympian Mike Brace
at the launch of the exhibition on Tuesday 3rd May 2022 ©ITG

The exhibition, in collaboration with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust and London Legacy Development Corporation, reflects on the 10th anniversary since the Games. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition celebrates the history of the British Paralympic Movement, bringing its stories of human endeavour to life. This includes the early works of Stoke Mandeville and Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, founding father of the Paralympics, to present day Paralympic heroes. 

Vicky Hope-Walker, Chief Executive Officer at the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT), said:

We’re thrilled to be launching our first Paralympic exhibition at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ten years on from London 2012, which marked the beginning of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust . . . At NPHT, we work to protect, collect and celebrate Paralympic Heritage, and the Stories from London 2012 exhibition proudly commemorates this. As we come to the end of six-year project with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this is a fitting celebration of our own NPHT achievements, and an opportunity to plan our next five years, and what permanent legacy might develop from this event.

Anna Scott-Marshall, Director of Communications BPA, adds:

There is no doubt that the London 2012 Paralympic Games were a catalyst for change for the Paralympic Movement. Here in the UK the public fell in love with Paralympic sport and its stars, and the Games kickstarted a transformation in public attitudes towards disability. London 2012 was the first time the Paralympic Games stood with an equal footing with the Olympic Games and huge strides have been made globally to progress the Paralympic Movement ever since. This exhibition tells that story and reminds us of how powerful those moments in 2012 were.

The Stories from London 2012 exhibition celebrates the Paralympic Movement from the early years of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who introduced sport as part of a rehabilitation programme at Stoke Mandeville Hospital during the 1940’s, to the great Paralympic heroes, including Dame Sarah Storey DBE, 17x gold medal winner and Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian. To the present day and the recent Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, and the achievements of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust.

As well as understanding the history and legacy of the Paralympic movement, visitors will be able to view items from the 2012 Paralympic Games collection donated by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust. This includes cyclist Neil Fachie’s 2012 winning shoes and gloves, and the Declaration of Human Rights Jacket worn in the Opening Ceremony, designed by Tahra Zafar.

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust works to protect Paralympic heritage through the archiving and collection of Paralympic items, both of national and international importance. These items are accessioned, conserved, and respected globally for their international importance, and are able to view at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.

From May until the end of September, less July when the Commonwealth Games will take over the Velopark, you will be able to visit the Paralympic Heritage: Stories from London 2012 exhibition housed in the upper floor of the building for free. The NPHT will also be taking part in events over the summer and in September as part of the 10th anniversary.

From Friday 8th July, the exhibition will be moved into the Stadium and will become part of the Stadium Tour. After the Commonwealth Games have concluded, the exhibition will then return to the Velodrome and reopen on Monday 15th August.

ENDS

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust invite people to share any of their own memorabilia and stories for documenting as part of a national archive record.  There are also free resources to download for families and schools. More information can be found on this website.

For Media Enquiries

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

Note to Editors

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

About the National Paralympic Heritage Trust

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) has been established ‘to enlighten and inspire future generations by celebrating, cherishing and bringing the Paralympic heritage and its stories of human endeavour to life’. The heritage tells the history of a remarkable movement beginning with the arrival of Dr Guttmann as a Jewish refugee from Germany in 1939 and his appointment to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1943 when he introduced sport for the rehabilitation of servicemen with spinal cord injuries. It has led the way in changing attitudes towards disabled people and influenced the development of new medical, scientific and engineering technologies.

The four founding members of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust are the British Paralympic Association, WheelPower – British Wheelchair Sport, and Buckinghamshire Council. Contributing partners include the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation, the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Discover Bucks Museum Trust and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies.

About the early beginnings of the Paralympic Games

The story of the Paralympic Movement began at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948 when 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 that competition and the change he saw in his patients spurred him on to develop an annual Games. By 1960, those Games had become so internationally popular that it was agreed with the Italian government that they would be held in Rome straight after the Olympics. The Paralympic Games was born.