Paralympics founder Ludwig Guttmann's statue unveiled at Stoke Mandeville
- 25 June 2012
- From the section Beds, Herts & Bucks
A lasting tribute to the founder of the modern Paralympic Games has been unveiled in Buckinghamshire.
A life-sized cast-bronze statue of Professor Sir Ludwig "Poppa" Guttmann will stand at Stoke Mandeville Stadium during the 2012 Games.
It will then be moved to a permanent home at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Stoke Mandeville.
Professor Guttmann held the first Paralympic sports event there in 1948 on the opening day of the London Games.
Ludwig Guttmann was the founder of spinal cord injury treatment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and opened the National Spinal Injuries Centre there in 1944.
He introduced sport into his rehabilitation programme for his patients and the Paralympic Games originated as a result of an archery competition he organised for his patients on the grass outside the centre.
He developed Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Centre for Disability Sport, alongside the hospital.
The statue was commissioned by The Poppa Guttmann Trust and The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) and created by sculptor Mark Jackson as a "lasting memorial" to Guttmann's "contribution to the initiation of Paralympic sport".
Chairman of the trust, Mike Mackenzie, said: "It is because of Professor Guttmann's life-long dedication to the research and treatment of those with life-limiting injuries and disabilities that the Paralympic Games were founded, and why so many non-able bodied individuals are now able to enjoy such active and fulfilling sporting experiences.
"At long last the National Spinal Injuries Centre will have something to say who started it, how it was founded and when it was founded."
The memorial was unveiled by Professor Guttmann's daughter, Eva Loeffler OBE, and his son Dr Dennis Guttmann.
At the same ceremony, a bronze bust, also created by Mr Jackson was presented to Sir Philip Craven MBE, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
The bust will be loaned by the IPC to all future host nations of the Paralympic Games as a symbol of remembrance of Professor Guttmann's achievements.