19th September 2018


I am delighted to take up my role as the Chair for the Trust, and very excited about the journey we are embarking on to preserve, cherish and share this inspiring and unique area of heritage. My passion for history has led me to support numerous organisations in a voluntary capacity including The Mary Rose Trust.  This work, however, is both closer to home and the heart, having grown up in the area with links to Stoke Mandeville Stadium and, through my wife, Riding for the Disabled.
This is our second newsletter and I hope you enjoy catching up on all our work, which will culminate in the opening of a permanent heritage centre at Stoke Mandeville at the end of March 2019.

Nigel Purse, Chair of Trustees.

About Us

The end of an era and new beginnings

Paul Mainds resigned his Chairmanship on the 1st September having been involved since 2014 at the start, leading us to a secure base. We will most certainly miss Paul and thank him for all his dedication and commitment during his time with the Trust.  Although Paul will no longer be serving as Chairman he remains on our Advisory Panel. 

We are delighted to announce the appointment of three Independent Trustees; Helen Adams, Rachel Maguire and Su Moore all of whom bring a wealth of new knowledge and expertise. To learn more about the background of our Trustees please visit here.

Welcome to our new volunteers

We had a target of recruiting 7 new volunteers and are delighted to welcome 16 to our virtual team supporting the website as researchers. They are currently looking at each of the sports that have been included in the Paralympic games. 
Work has also started with our partners, Bucks County Museum and the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies to recruit volunteers to help with the collections and archives respectively.  They now have a volunteer who will be lending their photographic expertise to cataloguing the newly acquired collection donated by the British Paralympic Association.  
Volunteer opportunities are still open and can be viewed here


Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Paralympic Movement in July

Working with WheelPower and More Leisure we planned a week of activity; showing items from the collection, the digital timeline, plans for the heritage centre, and craft for the children. The week proved very useful to us, gathering views and interest from the public. We captured several great stories and might even have found a volunteer or two. We also undertook sessions with an adult special needs group and all of the holiday activity children. It was a chance to test ideas well in advance of the opening of the heritage centre next year.    

Children with Paralympian medals and dressed up in Paralympic Games costumes and kit Hanging rail with sports jacket and kit from past Paralympic Games

What's coming up

Did you know that the 30th September 2018 marks Sporting Heritage Day?

Founded in 2014 following London 2012, Sporting Heritage Day “aims to raise awareness of the relevance of sporting heritage, encourage new and different audiences to have access to these collections, and encourage heritage and sporting organisations to recognise sporting heritage as an ongoing, significant element of their work, not just something of importance during major sporting events.”  

Logo of sporting heritageBlack and white logo for Art Fund
We will be celebrating Sporting Heritage Day throughout September to raise awareness of the Paralympic heritage in Aylesbury and begin to encourage the local community to be proud of this heritage. 
We will be holding the following events:

  • A networking lunch on Friday 28th September 12-3pm for local organisations to recognise the Paralympic heritage in Aylesbury.
  • Pop-up museum at the Market Square, Aylesbury, on Saturday 29th September 10am-4pm which will include a handling collection and photos, stories and memorabilia will be on display.

3D design of the Paralympic Heritage Pop-up museum display

Design of the Paralympic Heritage pop-up museum 


Regional exhibitions

After a successful pilot exhibition at Norwich Cathedral, we are looking forward to launching 'Paralympic Heritage – Stories from Bradford' in January 2019 at Cartwright Hall.

Aerial photo of Cartwright Hall Art Gallery and Museum

The Heritage Centre & NSIC

The designs for the permanent exhibitions at the Heritage Centre and National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville are now underway for the spring launch.

3D design of Heritage Centre3D design of Paralympic heritage display at National Spinal Injuries Centre


Archives and collections

Update from Laura Cotton, County Archivist at Bucks County Council.

At the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies, we have been working on records of the Paralympic movement for some time but one recent addition to the collections is taking up a bit of our time at the moment.  The British Paralympic Association have handed over a fascinating range of material relating to London 2012 and more.  To help us to scope out what needs doing with the collection, we have applied for and been granted an Archives Revealed Scoping Grant from The National Archives.  This enables us to draw on external help to look at the collection, to assess where we can look for external funding to catalogue, conserve and digitise the material, and to compare with material that is already held at The National Archives.  The consultant has recently been appointed and will start work in September.  At the end of this process, we will have a report that will take us further with work on the collection.  We hope to share more about what we find in due course.

Update from Vicky Hope-Walker, Project Manager at NPHT

For the purpose of selecting items for the exhibition displays we have made several visits to the WheelPower store, the Centre of Bucks Studies (CBS) and the Bucks County Museum Trust (BCMT) to look at possible items and discuss the stories attached to them. A few new things to emerge are the WheelPower Autograph Book that starts in 1969 with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, tiny models from the London 2012 Games opening ceremony and a beautifully designed certificate given to Paralympians flying to Tokyo for the 1964 Games, stating that they flew over the North Pole as in those days they could not fly over Russia.

Miniature model for concepts at opening ceremony at London 2012 Paralympic Games Miniature model for concepts at opening ceremony at London 2012 Paralympic Games


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. However, if you no longer wish to hear our news and what we have planned for the future then please opt-out below.  Our Privacy policy can be found here. Vicky Hope-Walker, NPHT Project Manager, [email protected]