7th October 2019

Welcome from Nigel Purse, NPHT Chairman

Welcome to the fifth edition of our Newsletter. We have had a busy summer, welcoming over 10,000 visitors to the Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville and at our regional exhibitions at Cliffe Castle in Keighley and Gunnersbury Park in London. All were supported by an interesting variety of events, ranging from debates on disability sports to demonstrations of equestrian skills. 
The Paralympic Heritage Centre at Stoke Mandeville is proving successful in attracting university interest. We are now part of programmes linked to Buckingham, Northampton and Bucks New Universities, plus some from much further afield including Brazil and Canada. With Tokyo 2020 less than a year away we have also had a steady flow of Japanese dignitaries drawing on the rich heritage we have to offer, with the possibility of lending some of our objects for a temporary exhibition they are planning.
As ever our focus has to be on the months and years ahead, ensuring our long-term sustainability post National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) from April 2022, which will of course come around faster than we imagine. We have had some successful funding applications and plans for permanent displays at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London will play a key role in helping us attract on-going corporate support. Big steps have been made in this direction and we will be applying for a resilience grant from the NLHF to help us along this route. Of course if you have any useful contacts we would be most grateful for introductions and ideas.

About Us

Our small team has already planned events  for 2020 supported by a growing team of volunteers whom we warmly welcome. We hosted our first volunteer coffee morning in September, sharing ideas and trying out some craft activity. We were even joined by Jane, our virtual website volunteer and assistant editor, who travelled many miles to meet us for the first time in person. This autumn will see shelving installed in the storeroom, organised by our volunteers with support from Aylesbury Rotary, and box listing of the WheelPower collection can begin.
We have welcomed three young people on work experience working closely with Adviza, the Prince’s Trust and Autism Bucks to ensure that we provide opportunities for diverse needs. All have proved very successful, leaving legacies of work that include research, marketing and Makaton interpretation.
We welcomed Anna Scott-Marshall, Director of Communications for the British Paralympic Association, onto our Board this summer; an excellent and welcome addition to our Trustees.


We have just launched a quiz and writing competition to celebrate National Sporting Heritage Day on 30th September, there are some great prizes, so do let people know about it.

We have also launched a creative activity to celebrate Tokyo 2020, now under a year away! For £1 you can get an origami pack and help us make paper cranes. These graceful birds are a sign of good luck and featured in the Tokyo 1964 Games. The cranes will form part of a display for the Heritage Flame Lighting in August next year. You can buy packs or attend events for opportunities to get folding and be part of the next summer Paralympic Games.

Visit our webpage for more details
July to September has seen a host of events stretching from London to Bradford including our first Described and British Sign Language Tours, a Paralympic Teddy Bears Picnic, specialist guided tours, lectures, debates and ‘Meet the Paralympian’. 

Naomi Riches MBE sharing her story at the Meet the Paralympian Day  Naomi Riches with visitors at the Meet the Paralympian Have a go at rowing session 
Our first 'Meet the Paralympian' Day with Naomi Riches MBE, Paralympic rower

Pop-up museum

We have reached out to 100s of people, promoting the Heritage Centre at the Bucks County Show, Waterside Festival, Waddesdon Manor family sports day and Halton Airbase family day. Thank you to ‘I Have a Voice Too’ for supporting these events and performing their ‘Dr Guttmann’ show.

NPHT Pop up museum at Bucks County Show  Derek Derenalagi, Paralympian, outside the front of our Pop-up Museum at Aylesbury Waterside Festival
Motivation UK's racing wheelchair at the Bucks County Show and Derek Derenalagi, Paralympic discus thrower at the Waterside Festival

What's coming up

Please share our upcoming events with your friends, family and colleagues 

Friday 4th October, 11am-1pm & 1-3pm

As part of the Chiltern Heritage Festival we have two fun and interactive sessions available for both children and adults. The sessions include:

  • a brief presentation about the Paralympic Movement
  • a tour of the Heritage Centre
  • the opportunity to meet Paralympic swimmer, Stephanie Millward MBE

Sunday 24th November, 10am-3pm - Santa's Parade

Visit us at our Pop-up Museum at the Santa’s Parade event in Aylesbury Market Square. The parade starts at 10:45 and finishes at 11:30 but the family fun will continue with activities throughout the town until 15:00.


Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford and Keighley

Our regional exhibition at Cliffe Castle continues until the start of November. It got off to a flying start with a park run and opening breakfast.

Heather Millard curator at Cliffe Castle Museum holding the 2018 Pyeongchang torch at the Incredible Me celebration day  Runners at the parkrun celebration at Cliffe Castle
Heather Millard, Curator, and participants ready for the Park Run at Cliffe Castle Museum and Park

National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville

Plans are well underway for the National Spinal Injuries Centre permanent displays and trail linked back to Stoke Mandeville Stadium.  We have uncovered some wonderful stories relating to the medical history and engineering innovations, thanks to hospital consultants and staff and Roger Jefcoate CBE DL.

Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Manchester

The development of local content for Manchester’s National Football Museum, June 2020, is underway. In the next few weeks we will have available on our website a fantastic interview with Alistair Patrick Heselton, player with the GB Cerebral Palsy Football team.

Mini exhibitions at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre

‘Sandy’s Hat’ celebrating her long-term volunteering across disability sports events has delighted visitors. Placing her hat, heavy with the weight of years of pin badges, was not easy but looks fabulous. Our next exhibition will launch in December celebrating a local 2012 Child; a story that not many people are aware of, linked to London 2012.

Sandys hat covered in badges from sporting events in the 1980s onwards in a display cabinet

Sandy's Hat on display at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre


Mick Langley's family has generously shared his life story and donated several items to our collection. Mick was a Buckinghamshire man who came to the Spinal Unit aged 16 and went on to become a snooker champion.
Paralympic Rower, Pamela Relph, has donated a large photograph capturing an iconic moment when the British mixed coxed four team won gold in London 2012.

Photo of the British mixed coxed four rowing team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

The photograph of Pamela Relph and the ParalympicGB mixed coxed team at London 2012 

Following on from our regional exhibition featuring Dimitri Coutya, current wheelchair fencer, he has donated all of his kit to Gunnersbury Park Museum and this will go on permanent display in 2020.

Dimitri Coutya

Dimitri Coutya's kit on display at Gunnersbury Park Museum

Motivation UK donated a modern racing wheelchair that has proved a great success and draw at our events.  Its foundation produces chairs for people with disabilities in third world countries to be able to train and live active lives. You can read our news article here


Thank you to our recent funders: Carrington Foundation, Roland Callingham Foundation, South East Museums, William Harding Trust and Aylesbury Rotary. Also to our wonderful volunteers whose help is invaluable to the Trust and to Motivation UK for donating the Flying Start racing wheelchair.

Keep in touch

We at the NPHT love sharing what we are up to. However, if you no longer wish to hear our news and what we have planned for the future then please contact us. Our Privacy policy can be found here. Vicky Hope-Walker, NPHT Chief Executive Officer, [email protected]