Aggreko, the Official Temporary Energy Services Provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has funded the creation of a lasting tribute to Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann, the founder of the modern Paralympic Games.
A life-sized cast-bronze bust of Professor Guttmann, commissioned by The Poppa Guttmann Trust and The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA), will be unveiled alongside a full-size statue at a special event on 24th June at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville, where Professor Guttmann held the first international Paralympic sports event in 1948.
Rupert Soames, CEO of Aggreko, will present the bust to Sir Philip Craven MBE, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), in recognition of Professor Guttmann’s commitment to the promotion of sport as an effective rehabilitation method for those with spinal cord injuries. The bust will then be loaned by the IPC to all future host nations of the Paralympic Games as a symbol of remembrance to Professor Guttmann’s achievements.
Mike Mackenzie, chairman of The Poppa Guttmann Trust, said: “In this pivotal year during which the Games will be returning home to the UK, we wanted to create a lasting legacy of Professor Guttmann’s contribution to the initiation Paralympic sport.
“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 able to enjoy such active and fulfilling sporting experiences.”
Rupert Soames added: “As the Official Temporary Energy Services Provider to the Paralympic Games, we are committed to helping support an event that has an enormous positive impact across the globe. The work of the Poppa Guttmann Trust to commemorate such an important part of our nation’s sporting heritage is to be commended, and we are very proud that we have been able to assist it in its aim.”
For more information about the event, please visit www.poppaguttmanncelebration.org.
About Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann:
Ludwig Guttmann was born into an Orthodox Jewish family on 3rd July 1899 in Tost, Germany. He worked in Nazi Germany at the Jewish Hospital in Breslau, later becoming Director of the hospital. However, when life in Germany became impossible, he and his family emigrated to Oxford, England, where he began research work at the Nuffield Department of Neurosurgery.
Professor Guttmann opened the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1944, with the first International Stoke Mandeville Games taking place in 1948 against Dutch competitors. By 1960, the Games had grown to such an extent that 400 paralysed men and women from 23 countries took part in an event that coincided with The Olympic Games in Rome, and the Paralympic Games were born.
In 1961 Professor Guttmann founded the British Sports Association for the Disabled. In that year he was the inaugural President of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (now the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) and was the first Editor of the journal of the Society, Paraplegia (now named Spinal Cord).
Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the National Centre for Disability Sport in the United Kingdom, was developed by him alongside the hospital.