Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of London 2012 and Buckinghamshire's Paralympic Legacy

The Together We Build project, led by Buckinghamshire Culture, brought together ten disabled Community Curators who chose Paralympic objects from the collections of the Buckinghamshire Archives, Discover Bucks Museum, National Paralympic Heritage Trust and Waddesdon. The objects were displayed at cultural venues across Buckinghamshire from the 9th September until the 4th November 2022 and can still be visited virtually on the gallery below.


Paralympic objects on display at Amersham Museum, Bekonscot Model Village and Marlow Library

Together We Build Virtual Gallery

Together We Build Events

There was a whole host of activities taking place across Buckinghamshire as part of the Together We Build project. Each activity was inspired by an object relating to the Paralympics and organised with the help of Community Curators. From junk modelling to drawing blindfolded, designing a Paralympian mascot and T-shirt, to hearing from the Head of Costume and Make Up for the 2012 Paralympic Opening and Closing ceremonies, meeting Paralympian John Harris and watching the choir “I Have A Voice Too” perform. 



Schools Celebration Day at Waddesdon Manor

The following events took place, with additional ones being planned in the New Year. 

  • Tuesday 20th September 2022, Schools Celebration Day at Waddesdon Manor.
  • Saturday 22nd October 2022, A Paralympic Celebration at Chiltern Open Air Museum.
  • Tuesday 25th October  2022, Design and make your own Paralympian T-shirt at Marlow Library.
  • Tuesday 25th October 2022, ‘All things Costume’ crafts at the National Paralympic Heritage Centre.
  • Wednesday 26th October 2022, National Paralympic Heritage Trust pop-up museum at Discover Bucks Museum.
  • Thursday 27th October 2022, Design your own Paralympic Mascot at Bekonscot Model Village and Railway.
  • Saturday 29 October 2022, Together We Build: a night of nostalgia at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.
  • Wednesday 2nd November 2022, Together We Build Coffee House at Milton's Cottage.

London 2012 Paralympic Games memories collected during the Together We Build project

By Community Curator Simon Stiel

During July at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, I was helping out at the pop-up museum for the NPHT. We had Games Makers visit the stand and they were still wearing the purple shirts from the London 2012 Paralympic Games. We also had a torchbearer visit and he was still wearing the white tracksuit that torchbearers wore that year. They were clearly proud to be volunteers.

As the Together We Build project ran across Buckinghamshire, I had the opportunity to speak to more people who had volunteered for London 2012. I spoke to them at Chiltern Open Air Museum, Bekonscot Model Village, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and Milton’s Cottage. They were asked what had led them to volunteer for the Paralympics, what they did during the Games and what the experience led them to do in the future.

Visitors to the Together We Build events who had volunteered at the London 2012 Games spoke about their experiences.

Ann and Paul:

The Paralympics were much more exciting than we thought. We randomly chose the Thursday for the athletics (what became known as Terrific Thursday) and I couldn’t believe it. It was so exciting. We had all different nationalities and it set the bar. It’s a huge memory in my mind.


I provided the ice-bucket for the winning captain in the wheelchair rugby final. It was the most awesome two weeks ever and it got me into other things including the World Para-Athletics and Special Olympics.


I just applied and they asked me to be a rapid quote reporter at the Aquatics Centre.  A once in a lifetime opportunity. Swimming was the biggest sport in the Paralympics. I would ask the swimmers how they had done as soon as they had got out of the pool. I did actually speak to Ellie Simmonds. I hadn’t been aware the Paralympics had been on TV and I think it is on a par with the Olympics.

Sally Alford:

I was a reader and was part of the group that did the final dance of Spasticus Autisticus for the opening ceremony. I am of a Drama and English background and I was asked if I would like to audition to be part of the opening ceremony. I’m a trustee of an inclusive theatre called the Theatre Shed so I was representing them. We went to Three Mill Studio and it was fine. We had amazing dance captains and I was thrilled. We had Ian McKellen encouraging us during rehearsals. On the night, I can’t tell you how exciting it was. Stephen Hawking was there and I was so inspired. We were at the centre of the Stadium and when the athletes walked in in, I cried. I had so much pride. It made me appreciate how hard they have worked to get where they are. We sang ‘I Am Who I am and it was signed. I went on to volunteer for the Para-Athletics championships in 2017.

Kelly O’Reilly:

I was working on a project called Ping-Pong which was putting ping-pong tables in public spaces. We also commissioned artists on the bats, balls including disabled artists. All were designed with the professionalism of those involved and it was quite amazing the risks people took. The Channel Four ad campaign really helped, it built up momentum and it put the Paralympics in parallel with the Olympics.

About Buckinghamshire Culture

Buckinghamshire Culture has emerged in response to a need to better connect, celebrate and enhance the creative and cultural organisations in Buckinghamshire and the great work that they do. In 2018, spearheaded by Buckinghamshire Council we collectively started work on a Cultural Strategy for the county, which outlined the need for a new cultural partnership to take this work forward.  Our partnership is made up of representatives from creative and cultural organisations, higher and further education, schools, economy and growth, place-making and health and wellbeing alongside artists and museum professionals. For more information about Buckinghamshire Culture visit their website here.


Buckinghamshire Archives, Discover Bucks Museum, National Paralympic Heritage Trust and Waddesdon


Buckinghamshire Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Cultural Venues

The 12 participating venues included:

  • Amersham Museum
  • Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
  • Bekonscot Model Village & Railway
  • Buckinghamshire Archives
  • Chiltern Open Air Museum
  • Discover Bucks Museum
  • Marlow Library
  • Milton's Cottage
  • National Paralympic Heritage Trust
  • The Elgiva Theatre
  • Queens Park Arts Centre
  • Waddesdon