18th July 2022

An Update from NPHT

The summer holidays are nearly upon us and we've hosted over 40 events reaching over 3000 people since April. Visitor numbers to the Heritage Centre should reach our target of 20,000 for the past year since reopening. This still falls short of our first full year in 2019/20 (pre-Covid) but the numbers have been rising apace, and are high for such a small museum. If we take into account the heritage stories we share across our social media platforms our reach is over 250,000 including our Google Arts and Culture pages and TikTok (25,000 views of our videos since we began in April).
It was a delight to see 'I Have A Voice Too!' sing with Paralympian and Musician Robin Surgeoner MBE to over 300 children and guests at the Commonwealth Games baton event as it passed through Stoke Mandeville Stadium on the 6th July. A culmination of their ‘Sing for the Queen’ project celebrating royal support of disability sport. It was an opportunity to share Commonwealth Paraplegic Games items from our collection, and the memories of our athletes, so many of whom recollect them as having a family feel that made them special. Developments for the months ahead are focused on celebrating 10 years on from London 2012.  Events will be taking place in London and we will be launching our virtual regional exhibition pilot with the Chard Museum, making it easy for other venues to add in their local Paralympic and disability sport histories. We are also working with Bucks Culture to create an exhibition of 10 objects from Paralympic Collections across ten cultural venues in Buckinghamshire, chosen and curated by disability groups.

A Spotlight On ... Virtual Regional Exhibition

Our Virtual Regional Exhibition has been developed so that any small museum or sports venue can share and celebrate their Paralympic and disability sports heritage alongside that of Dr Guttmann and the development of the Games. It is easy to curate and upload content and we are now trialing it. If you would like to be involved in the trialing please let us know at [email protected] and we will send you a link. We welcome your feedback so that we can make improvements. Some of the items featured include 3D images produced by the Digital Explorations group and a prosthetic limb made by the James Gillingham during Queen Victoria’s reign. All a great way to widen access to our and others Paralympic and disability heritage.

What's On...

Given the recent Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games taking place our focus has had something of a Royal theme these last few months and that will continue throughout the summer.  In the autumn we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of London 2012. Lots of activities are planned from creative sessions, activity sheets and outreach with our Pop-up Museum to village events, the Olympic Park and the Bucks County Show. Join in with our holiday activities here

How it began...

Over the last few months Paralympian David Smith OBE has worked with us in the Heritage Centre and outreach to the community in Wendover sharing his inspiring story and demonstrating his sport.

Boccia made its debut at the New York Paralympic Games in 1984 and is now practiced in over 50 countries. It is one of only two sports that do not have an Olympic counterpart. It is a sport that is thought to date back to the ancient Greeks. Find out more about the sport of Boccia here!

Sam Brady discusses... 

We said goodbye to Sam after his six-month placement with the Trust. He has contributed greatly to our archive work and leaves a real legacy in the development of a Trail App that takes you from the William Harding School through the Stoke Mandeville Stadium site and to the National Spinal Injuries Centre. The App is full of images, oral histories, films and written stories, we shall be trialing it very soon. We hope that it will become a fantastic new resource for visitors and schools.

The Rothschild Project 

We are continuing to edit our 50 scanned items and have reached out to other museums sharing our scanning skills. We are starting to plan schools’ workshops for the Autumn to inspire young people and share our history. The technology is incredibly complex, and we are so proud of the participants resilience, and problem solving skills, it is amazing to get to the stage of being able to pay them for their valuable contribution to our work. Find out more about the project here

Stories from Buckinghamshire Project 

There have been multiple activities reaching out to communities across Buckinghamshire and supporting community and school visits to the Heritage Centre. Just one example in this extraordinary project is the students at Finmere School who have learnt to make Podcasts with Kay Ashton MBA ‘Love, Life and Disability’ broadcaster, recording the history of the Finmere Show, Paralympic Games fundraiser for over 50 years. Click here for our latest project updates!


A big thank you to all our volunteers who have contributed enormously over the past few months supporting all the outreach and visits to the Heritage Centre, their collective knowledge for tours is amazing. We have welcomed several new volunteers to the collections ‘box listing’ project which is such important work. In addition our oral history volunteers have been busy writing up transcripts from interviews, no easy task, and all of this will contribute to a new oral history display in the HC later this year.

Thank you....

Thank you to our primary funders, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Rothschild Foundation and HS2 for their support and flexibility to our changing delivery needs. Also, to recent funders including the Association of Independent Museums, Heart of Bucks, Arts Council England and Bucks Culture.
Thank you to Barbara Hoole, Joyce Sheard, Tony Baldwinson, Victoria Cross and Julie Spence for their donations to the NPHT collections.

Thank you to our volunteers who have continued to support our work and given us so many hours of face-to-face work over the last four months.

Thank you to all who follow what we are doing and to those who have generously donated.

You can support our ongoing work by donating here.