Paralympic Heritage: Stories from Bradford and Keighley

In collaboration with Bradford Museums and with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund the Paralympic Heritage Stories regional exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum ran from June to November 2019.

From the displays, memorabilia and art over 53,000 visitors learnt about local and national Paralympians past and present, all of whom have contributed to this inspiring part of British history. Visitors found out how it all began with the inspirational story of Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann. 

Zuby Hammard, Director Bradford Metropolitan Council said

This has celebrated a local hidden history and constant unfurling story. Every area should have the chance to celebrate their disability sports achievement.

Interior photo of the dome at Cliffe Castle Museum showing Paul Cartwrights racing wheelchair suspended in the air.

Paul Cartwright's racing wheelchair displayed inside the dome at Cliffe Castle

Local stories included Kevan Baker who won two bronze medals for discus in the 1970s and 1980s and has remained involved in the promotion of disability sport ever since. Paul Cartwright, one of the pioneers of wheelchair racing, led the way in both wheelchair and sportswear design. Sally Hurst a para-cyclist and BBC journalist, and finally Bradford’s most recent equestrian gold medallists in the Special Olympics James Reed-Griffiths and T-Jay Wilson. 

Image of Sally Hurst para-cyclist advertising Paralympic Heritage exhibition at Cliffe Castle Museum 

Tim Curtis, Event Co-ordinator said,

For non disabled the disability issue soon became irrelevant, and they were just enjoying a great exhibition and activities. It really empowered them to think differently. It was wonderful watching groups of non-disabled engrossed in listening to talks and discussions in a really meaningful way. I didn’t once hear anything patronising like ‘Ah bless them’. On most occasions the audiences were 50/50 disabled and non-disabled.

Vickie Orton, Artist in residence said,

The impact of the exhibitions was truly amazing on the disabled sector. There was one disabled child I spoke to who was about to undergo surgery, who was so inspired by the exhibition, it gave her strength. 

Virtual Tour

You can visit this exhibition virtually using 3D technology, ‘walkthrough’ exhibition spaces and zoom in on specific artefacts or artwork. You can access video, British Sign Language, text caption and audio-description options at points of interest.

Viewing the Virtual Tour

  • For optimal performance of the virtual tour please view in full screen.
  • To view the highlight reel/thumbnails press the arrow in the bottom left hand corner.
  • To view the videos in the hotspots in full screen press the link.

Widgit Tour

The Widgit tour has been developed to use alongside either the virtual or video tours above. Click here to view the full Widgit tour or download as a pdf. Please contact us if you require an alternative format.

Widgit tour of the Cliffe Castle Museum exhibition Widgit tour of the Cliffe Castle Museum exhibition Widgit tour of the Cliffe Castle Museum exhibition Widgit Tour of the Cliffe Castle Museum exhibition Widgit tour of the Cliffe Castle Museum exhibition

Paralympic Heritage celebration 'Incredible Me Day', Saturday 20th July 2019

Paralympic mascot   Runners at the parkrun celebration at Cliffe Castle  Heather Millard curator at Cliffe Castle Museum holding the 2018 Pyeongchang torch at the Incredible Me celebration day

This wonderful celebration started with a Paralympic parkrun 'takeover'. Para triathlete, Stuart Meikle started the runners off and Joshua Pullen, Bradford’s Young Disability Sports Person of the Year 2018, and London 2012 Paralympic Mascot 'Mandeville' took part. Visitors enjoyed the opportunity to hold the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics Torch and to meet featured Paralympians, Paul Cartwright and Kevan Baker OBE. There were Paralympic themed craft activities and ‘have a go’ at disability sport taster sessions. The Bradford Concert Band entertained all who attended.

People First KC radio, interviews from the day:

Tim Curtis, Event Co-ordinator

Josh Pullen, Bradford Disability Sport's Personality of the Year

Esther Bernardini, Braille Teacher at University Academy Keighley

John Grogan, Labour MP for Keighley and Ilkley

Please continue to share your stories and follow us on twitter, facebook and Instagram using #paraheritagestories


The Heritage Lottery Fund and Bradford Museums

Logo of the Heritage Lottery Fund