1932 – Feb 2013

Left paralysed by an exploding landmine while serving in Korea in 1951, Thomas ‘Paddy’ Moran was inspired by Dr Ludwig Guttmann and Stoke Mandeville Hospital to overcome his life-threatening injury, winning silver at the first Paralympic Summer Games.

Early life

In Korea, in 1951, Irish-born Paddy’s life changed forever when his spine was severed by a piece of shrapnel after a member of the foot patrol he was on stepped on a land mine.

Left paralysed from the chest down, Paddy was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. In an interview with the Macclesfield Express, Paddy recalled: 

Men were literally arriving in coffins having been expected to die, but Ludwig wouldn’t have any of it. He had a technique of care and rehabilitation that saved a lot of lives, including mine.

After being given a wheelchair, Paddy took part in sports such as archery and table tennis to help him regain his strength and improve his posture. Within months he was playing competitive basketball and, in 1952, was selected to play against the Dutch team in the first International Stoke Mandeville Games.

In 1953 Paddy moved to the Lyme Green settlement near Macclesfield, Cheshire, which had been established in 1946 to provide treatment, rehabilitation and purpose-built accommodation for paraplegic ex-servicemen injured during World War II.

The residents earned their keep working in the settlement’s workshops and spent the rest of their time practising sport. Paddy met Mary, who he married in 1958, at Lyme Green.

Paddy recalled: 

There were a group of us, young men, who had been badly injured and were trying to get our lives together. The camaraderie of the group there got us through some dark times. We spurred each other on. We worked hard and played hard.

Paddy joined the Lyme Green wheelchair basketball team which represented Great Britain in international competitions until 1955 when players from other rehabilitation centres began to be selected.

Life as a Paralympic athlete

Selected to compete in wheelchair basketball and table tennis at the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, Paddy described leading the opening parade as the proudest moment of his life. 


At the Tokyo 1964 and Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games he again competed in wheelchair basketball, adding three athletics events in Tel Aviv, Men's Shot Put A, Men's Javelin A, Men's Club Throw A. For the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games he was selected for the Men's Precision Javelin Open event.

Retirement as a Paralympic athlete

Paddy died on the 10th of February 10, 2014, after a short illness, in tribute, his wife Mary said: 

Paddy overcame incredible adversity to have a wonderful, fulfilling life.

Achievements and awards

Paralympic Games

At the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, Paddy, along with teammates Ron Foster, Dave Platten, Bill Shiel, John McBride, George Swindlehurst, Dick Thompson and Ron Lawson won silver in the Basketball Men’s Tournament A. 

The Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games saw Paddy and teammates George Swindlehurst, Ron Foster, Bill Shiel, Brian Bennett, Joe Slattery, Neil MacDonald, Dick Thompson, Brian Dickinson and Frank Gilbertson win silver again in the Wheelchair Basketball Men’s Tournament A complete. 

Paddy was also a member of the team who won bronze in the wheelchair basketball Men's Tournament at the Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games.

Other sporting events 

Paddy also represented England at the First Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Perth, Australia in 1962 and the Third Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1970.


A short video with Glyn Jones about his friends Ron Foster and Paddy Moran and their sporting accomplishments.

Interview about Paddy and Ron Foster

Interview by Dr Rosemary Hall, 28th October 2021

Memories of Ron and Paddy by their wives Pat and Mary and friend Glyn Jones. They met when they had beds next to each other on the ward at Stoke Mandeville hospital and were soon encouraged to take part in the sports on offer, including table tennis, javelin and wheelchair basketball. They went on to compete in the early Stoke Mandeville Games and won numerous medals throughout the 1960s at four Paralympic Games and seven Commonwealth Paraplegic Games. Listen to the interview below or download the transcript. You can read Ron Foster's story here.


  • S. Brittain, From Stoke Mandeville to Stratford: A history of the Summer Paralympic Games, Champaign, Illinois, Common Ground Publishing, 2012