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Recording the origins of the Paralympic Games

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APM’s Emma Shelton used her staff volunteering day this year to ensure that the story of the early Paralympians was remembered, and the founders celebrated for their astounding legacy.

Emma, who is our Executive Assistant to APM’s CEO, volunteers regularly with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) as the Collections and Archive Assistant. Her voluntary role, which she looks forward to returning to as lockdown measures ease, involves sifting through the memorabilia and artefacts which show the progression of the games, right up to present day.

Emma told us: “The NPHT has accumulated a massive treasure trove of a collection dating back to the early days. Along with a couple of other volunteers, we spent the day looking through, cataloguing, photographing and boxing up some fascinating artefacts which will document the important story of the pioneers of the Paralympic movement; its technology, past Paralympians and its humble beginnings.  I continue to assist with this work and enjoy working with the small team involved.”

Emma lives close to the historic home of the Paralympics, the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where, in 1944, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann opened a spinal injury and rehabilitation centre. In time, the sport he recommended to rehabilitate physical wounds of soldiers fighting in World War Two evolved into competitions. Seeing the positive effect sport was having on the bodies, and minds, of the soldiers, Dr. Guttmann organised ‘The Stoke Mandeville Games’, which in a few short decades became the international Paralympics Games we recognise today.

Emma’s volunteering role is making a huge difference in helping to record the founding story of an organisation which has inspired thousands of differently-abled men and women to compete, from over one hundred countries. Emma is pleased she was able to use her day of volunteering to support a cause which is doing so much to raise awareness. Emma continues to volunteer from home, following recommendations from the UK government on social-distancing.


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