In reading about the history of the Paralympics here, it is interesting to see the forerunners of the games went back in 1948. Many see the home of the games as being Stoke Mandleville where the paralympics started as the Stoke Mandleville Games, which is also famous for its spinal injury unit, and its the reason why this year’s Paralympic mascot is also called Mandleville.
At Stoke Mandleville is a purpose built sports centre which is the headquarters of wheelchair sports in the UK. Next to it is the paralympic village designed for the 1984 Paralympics which is jointly hosted in the UK and USA. I am actually stayed at the village, which is basically a big concrete dorm.
In the early 1990s I belonged in a local disabled swimming club back in Horsham, Sunbeam Swimming Club, and each year some members went to a weekend conference and AGM of the National Association of Swimming Clubs for the Handicapped (yes, awful name which still has not changed)at the Stoke Mandleville Paralympic village.
So there is my small claim to fame. I was also a member of the Cerebral Palsy National Swimming Squad for a new years although I never had to opportunity to complete internationally but that’s another story. I also hope to be a part of this year’s paralympics which I will tell you about when it happens.