31st May 2018

The Trust's Year 2017-18

I am delighted to introduce this, our first 'Annual Review', for all the Trust's key contacts and supporters. I am personally delighted at the progress that has been made in such a short time and all credit is due to our Trustees and the small team we have based at Stoke Mandeville and of course, to the wider circle of supporters and funders. Paul Mainds BEM, Chair of Trustees

Saving a unique collection

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a significant grant from the Wellcome Trust the rescue and care of our inspiring collection is underway and we are delighted to be partnering with the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies and Bucks County Museum Trust to undertake this work. As part of our two and a half year programme we have three staff working on the conservation and cataloguing, supported by a number of volunteers.

Will Phillips at Bucks County Museum receiving a collection from the British Paralympic Association

Will Phillips at Bucks County Museum Trust receiving a collection from the BPA

Since the launch we have been offered various exciting donations. Amongst these is the wonderful album of photographer, Margaret Anne Aldous, featured on the Antiques Roadshow, picturing activity at the Hospital in the 1950s and the medal treasure trove of Yvonne Matts (nee Hawtin), kindly donated by her family after her death. A huge thank you goes to all those kindly loaning and donating their memorabilia and sharing their stories.

Yvonne Matts medals
Prize giving at the Stoke Mandeville Games in the 1950s. Photograph by Margaret Anne Aldous. A selection of medals won by Yvonne Matts.

The Heritage Lottery Fund Project Launch

The formal launch of the five year Heritage Lottery Fund Project was very well supported at the British Paralympic Association Offices, with speeches from Paul Mainds, Chair, Sir Philip Craven OBE, Honorary President, Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, Chair of the South East Heritage Lottery Fund and Natasha Baker, Paralympian. Natasha gave a moving speech and reminded us of the incredible value this work will have for disabled people and their families.

The Heritage Lottery Fund Project Launch

Left to right: Paul Mainds, Natasha Baker, Sir Philip Craven, Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, Tim Hollingsworth and Stuart McLeod.

Exhibitions and Outreach

It has been hugely exciting to open the first of 6 regional exhibitions in Norwich, where the versatility of the design was demonstrated fitting into the North Transept of this splendid Cathedral. It has been enjoyed by more than 7000 visitors. This exhibition has been supported by Share Museums East, Norfolk Heritage Trust, Spirit of 2012, the Cathedral, local Paralympians and many disability sports organisations. Many local stories have been recorded and celebrated. Particular events, focused on schools and families, celebrating personal achievements and diversity have reached over 1000 people and objects like the Cheetah running blades from Össur and early medals have sparked many interesting conversations.

Regional Stories Exhibition display at Norwich Cathedral Regional Stories Exhibition display at Norwich Cathedral

Paralympic Heritage Exhibition at Norwich Cathedral

Work is underway planning further regional exhibitions beginning with Bradford, Manchester, London and Bath and for the permanent Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville which will finally give credit to this amazing British Heritage.

Our new website was launched to coincide with the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games. It adds depth and learning to the outreach, and offers access to those who cannot travel.

Finance and Fundraising

We met our fundraising target and finished our first year with a surplus. We still have significant sums to raise and are developing the various strands for our future fundraising.


Considerable thanks must go to our Trustees, Vice Presidents, Advisory Group and wider supporters, whose hands-on work and advice is invaluable. In particular we must thank all our funders, including Heritage Lottery Fund, Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England, Rothschild Foundation, AiM Biffa, Section 106 Bucks County Council, Aylesbury Vale Community Chest, Norfolk Heritage Trust, South East Museums, Spirit of 2012 and Heart of Bucks.

Keep in touch

We at the NPHT love sharing what we are up to. If you would like to continue to hear our news and what we have planned for the future then please sign up to our newsletter here. Vicky Hope-Walker, NPHT Project Manager.