28th May 2024

An Update from NPHT

We have now completed our first year of the new 5-year strategy ‘Becoming Seamlessly Inclusive’. There has been some incredible learning along the way, how to make more inclusive audio descriptions with the wonderful help of Westminster and Royal Holloway Universities, pushing the boundaries of what inclusive oral history training and interviewing should be, and how to get over the inaccessibility of online galleries to screen readers.     

We said goodbye to Elaine in March who over six years helped us build wonderful community partnerships and was passionate about opportunities for young people, developing our special educational needs work placement scheme. We also said goodbye to Maddy, who helped train our trainees in 3D scanning and shape some of our virtual work. Goodbyes are always sad, but it gave us an opportunity to rethink and restructure and we are delighted to welcome Emily Toettcher as Head of Programmes to the team, with many years of strategic experience across museums and who will lead on our projects. We can also confirm three other wonderful additions to the team Dr Sam Brady in the role of Collections Officer, Kat Mace who will be our Marketing and Communications Officer and Ben Banyard-Phelps the Volunteer and Trainee Officer. A huge congratulations to Sam for completing his PhD in the History of the Sports Wheelchair and gaining his doctorate. There is just one more role to fill now and we shall be back to a full team, a Trust Administrator.    

With Paris 2024 on the horizon we have two very important dates for your diary. On the 3rd July at 10am we shall have an online opening of our Global Virtual Museum, featuring its first four galleries (see below) and on the 14th August, in collaboration with Buckinghamshire Archives, we’ll be launching online access to the early Paralympic collections alongside the brilliant free ‘Explore the history of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville’ App, which utilises so much of the archives and collections. Keep an eye out for the ‘save the date’ and invites. 

A Spotlight On ... 5th Birthday Celebrations

On the 28th March we celebrated the 5th birthday of the Heritage Centre. Thank you to all who attended. It was a lovely occasion, with tours, not too many speeches, friends old and new, and plenty of cake cut by our four trainees. Over the next few years, we shall change some elements of the displays inviting our visitors to make the choices to ensure that they reflect their interests as well as the wider disability sports associated with the Games.


Heritage Centre 5th Anniversary Celebration

What's On...

Come along and join us at the following events:
Thursday 13th June, DICE Club Business Breakfast Meeting at 7:30 am
Join us for breakfast and a chance to listen to Paralympic skier Shona Brownlee. We’re being hosted by the team at Global Infusion Group – many thanks to them for their support. For more details and to get your ticket click the link here.

Friday 5th July, Meet Paralympian David Hill. We are excited to welcome the incredible David who will be delivering two online talks. 11am for schools and home-schooled students. 1pm for adults and older students. Book your place below.

Save the Date

Wednesday 3rd July Online launch of the Global Museum at 10am look out for more details on how to register for this exciting unveiling of our virtual museum! 

Wednesday 14th August, Online Collections launch in collaboration with Buckinghamshire Archives. Launching online access to the early Paralympic collections alongside the brilliant free ‘Explore the history of the Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville’ App 

Saturday 24th August, The Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville begins the first Paralympic Flame Relay in the history of the Summer Games! 

Paralympic athlete David Hill. ©ParalympicsGB

Sign up to our latest Meet the Paralympian event here🏅 

National Sporting Heritage Win!

We were delighted to find out that we had won the ‘Celebrating Digital Innovation in Sporting Heritage’ Award in April. This award was for our cutting-edge work on the Digital Explorations virtual gallery of 3D images. The competition came from across the UK, so it was a great achievement. Some of the team travelled to Leeds for the Awards Ceremony on May 9th.  

The NPHT team accepting the award from Dr Justine Reilly, Founding Director of Sporting Heritage.

Learning and Engagement

We are coming to the end of the first year of our Sensory Explorations project, working collaboratively with our partner SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) schools and museums.  As a result, museums are creating resources as well as celebrating ongoing relationships by physically exhibiting objects featured in the virtual 3D galleries.  The intention is to build these relationships and encourage families to visit in person with more confidence. 

Building on project work completed last year from Heart of Bucks and Kop Hill Climb we’ve been exploring our outreach offer with schools for whom physically visiting the Heritage Centre is prohibitive.  We’re supporting the curriculum with assemblies and workshops, ensuring a wider reach for our learning programme, as well as a new audience for our virtual tours and 3D galleries.      

Physical workshops using our handling collections have provided exciting opportunities to work with the stadium holiday group, Captiv8, and local families, in designing and making their own clay medals. We enjoyed meeting families for a story-telling focused event at Aylesbury library in the Spring holidays and we look forward to continuing this association in the summer, when we will be celebrating the Bucks Open Weekend 25 - 28th July. We also have lots of online family fun activities lined up for the school summer holidays, supporting our various Meet the Paralympian talks, local and national events. 


Activities at Aylesbury library and story-telling at the Heritage Centre

Collections news

Oral history

We are nearly halfway through a great pilot oral history project in collaboration with Coventry University. The aim has been to recruit and train disabled people as oral historians, including our trainees and carry out 16 interviews. We were delighted to have two Paralympians Robin Surgeoner and Mark Chamberlen come forward to take part. We have since challenged the Oral History Society in coming up with a more inclusive training toolkit to give confidence to others to carry out interviews suited to their individual needs. We are hoping this will lead to a 5-year programme that could see up to 300 athletes, coaches and others involved in the Paralympics recorded. 

Mark Chamberlen interviewing Dave Clarke for the oral history project.


Sam has been working on a number of collaborations with other organisations. We loaned our Opening and Closing ceremony outfits to Blandford Museum for their ‘History of Sportswear’ exhibition taking place from May to September 2024. We also donated items relating to blind weightlifter Stephen Brown to Bradford Museums and Galleries, he was a local to the area. We’re always grateful to be able to share our collections and disabled athlete’s stories with more organisations and audiences!     

Sam has also been reaching out to South Bucks Jewish Community, an exciting collaboration to explore Dr Guttmann’s heritage with local groups who can make unique contributions to our work. 


Exciting news! Following our impact report for 2023 and a detailed application setting out our ambitions for the next year, the Garfield Weston Foundation have confirmed that they would like to support us with a grant again this year.  

As part of partnership with the Museum Association, we recently shared our learning and experience at the Museum Association’s annual one-day conference. Titled ‘All Inclusive: Championing Accessible Museums’ this year the conference focused on how museums can become anti-ableist in everything that they do. Vicky and our 4 Museum Trainees spoke about our journey to diversify our workforce, increasing opportunities for disabled and neurodivergent people to work at NPHT and in heritage more widely.   

Corporate news

Alex Davis – a Triathlon in all 78 UK Cities Challenge 

Alex is the Sales Director at Equate Group, one of our corporate supporters. He has set himself the epic challenge of completing an Olympic length triathlon in every UK city. That’s 78 in total. In just 9 months. He’s aiming to raise £5,000 for NPHT in this time. This is a huge commitment and we’re behind him all the way. Do check out Alex’s Just Giving Page for updates and to donate towards his target Alex Davis is fundraising for The National Paralympic Heritage Trust (justgiving.com) 

Alex Davis on the 1st May arriving at the Manchester Aquatics Centre

DICE Club and the Disability Confident Scheme 

NPHT has teamed up with Bucks Business First (our first DICE Club member) to create a compelling offer for Bucks Businesses. The first 24 businesses to sign up to the Disability Confident Scheme with Bucks Business First will also have the opportunity to apply for a free year’s membership of DICE Club. We have a shared objective to make Bucks businesses more welcoming for disabled people and between us, we can offer support to help them achieve this. This offer is valid until 24 companies have signed up or by September 8th 2024 – the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.  

Getting involved

Are you preparing for National volunteer week which takes place on the 1st - 7th June every year?
Why not come organise a corporate volunteer day with the NPHT team?
Find out more about corporate support here or contact [email protected] for more information.

Thank you

Thank you to Steve Lowe, on behalf of the late Brendan Gately, for donating the London 2012 stamp collection, and to Ian Gainey, Australian Paralympian, who donated a Koala wristband and International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation 1986 world record certificate.

Many thanks, as always, to our dedicated volunteer and staff team. 

Support our ongoing work by donating here 🤗