12th October 2020

Welcome from Nigel Purse, NPHT Chairman

Welcome to the seventh edition of our newsletter. We hope this finds you in good health and coping with the current circumstances well. In the continued Covid-19 situation the National Paralympic Heritage Trust has successfully managed to continue its delivery of services and projects, all be it in an adapted way. There have even been some benefits with individuals finding time to share their history and donate their collections. We are indebted to the Poppa Guttmann Trust and Caz Walton OBE for their incredible donations in recent months and Mike Brace for his work on the history of the Winter Paralympic Games.
We are currently in the process of planning a reopening of the Heritage Centre though this will have to be in a much-reduced form. However, our virtual tours can still be delivered live to groups providing a personal touch that really brings the story to life and means that we are fully open for business on a virtual basis. I am also delighted to inform you that the permanent displays at the National Spinal Injuries Centre are complete and open and our next step is to provide a virtual version as access is limited due to Covid-19.

Paralympic Heritage exhibition displays at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital 

Displays at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital

About Us

We have been busy recruiting, appointing Amy Coleman as our new Administrator, Volker Heinemann as our new Finance Manager and shortly we shall have a Learning Officer to assist in the delivery of the Rothschild and HS2 project programmes. New arrivals mean goodbyes to our interim Administrator, Jenny Challis, and Sarah Slade, our Finance Manager, who has relocated to Yorkshire. We are sad to see them go and thank them for their fantastic work and we welcome our new arrivals and look forward to working with them. We also extend a warm welcome to all our volunteers that have joined us in the last few months.

Our fantastic volunteers have remained active with research, an excellent oral history programme, supporting events and a very comprehensive accessibility audit. Everyone is keen to get back and we are exploring how to do this in a safe way.


We have hosted a number of virtual events including two live creative workshops on Facebook, Meet the Paralympian live on Zoom, a virtual quiz as part of a London Disability Sport Festival and several live virtual tours. In addition, we’ve delivered a weekly vlog (video blog) on items from our collection.
Most recently with the help of one of our learning experts we have worked with Sporting Heritage to create and be part of a nationwide treasure hunt.

Upcoming events

This Autumn, our virtual programme will continue with some story telling sessions supported by our volunteers, collaboration with holiday clubs, BSL tours and Meet the Paralympian event.


Given the current situation we have had to delay exhibitions at the National Football Museum in Manchester and Bath University. We are exploring our exhibitions plan and looking at further virtual options alongside physical delivery. We are continuing with our exciting long-term plans for displays across the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and there is the possibility of collaboration with the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022.

Caz Waltons collection of Paralympic Games formal uniform Caz Walton

Caz Walton's Paralympic Games formal and sports uniform


Digital Explorations, the Rothschild Impact Grant Project, is underway with its first four recruits. They are being trained to 3D scan objects from the collection that will lead to a virtual 3D gallery with personal interpretations. The programme is aimed at people with disabilities from the local community. On completion of their training they will be paid to run workshops and record collections on behalf of the Trust. We will be running a second cohort to be trained and welcome anyone interested in taking part.
Paralympic Stories, the HS2 project, has already seen the recruitment of volunteers and work beginning on the development of a Paralympic trail across the area. We are looking forward to working with communities across the County, sharing and developing our heritage with them in future months, both digitally and face to face when permitted.


We have heightened our effort in digital communications and it can be argued we have maintained if not exceeded our audience numbers from last year, which is a remarkable achievement. It is has made us rethink our approach to audience development and create a new exciting digital strategy taking us through to 2027.
We’ve had some really successful campaigns including supporting WheelPower in the takeover of the IPC's Instagram account to celebrate the anniversary of the 1948 Stoke Mandeville Games; 'Resilience of the Paralympic Games' for what would have been the start of the Tokyo 2020 Games; and 'Sports unique to the Paralympics' for National Sporting Heritage Day. The campaigns have reached far greater audiences resulting in an increased number of followers to our social media channels.

History and Donations

In addition to the wonderful donations from Caz Walton OBE and the Poppa Guttmann Trust we are delighted to have a series of Paralympic t-shirts from our volunteer Anita Templar. We are grateful to Lady Susan Masham, Mike Parkin, Monica Vaughan, Mike Brace, Kevan Baker and Helen Philips who have contributed to our oral history collection, interviewed by our oral history volunteers, Rosemary Hall and April Byrne. We look forward to interviews with Caz Walton, Eva Loeffler and many others in the weeks to come.  We will be developing a project page on our website in due course to share these wonderful stories. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to contribute your story.

Bust of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann donated by the Poppa Guttmann Trust

Donation from the Poppa Guttmann Trust

We are in the process of devising a revised plan to ensure our collections are properly catalogued, a long process requiring careful thought.


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 in the new world.

Thank you to all who follow what we are doing. If you would like to show your support for our ongoing work please donate here