Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame new names unveiled by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex has today (Wednesday 8 October 2014) unveiled David Weir CBE, Margaret Maughan, Eva Loeffler OBE, and The Hon. Mark Vestey to the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame.

The four legends have a deep connection with Stoke Mandeville Stadium, WheelPower and the Paralympic movement and are acclaimed for their extraordinary contribution to British wheelchair sport.

Six time Paralympic gold medal winner David Weir said: “It’s a great honour to be here and be named with great athletes and Sir Ludwig Guttmann himself.”

Talking about his involvement with WheelPower and Stoke Mandeville Stadium he said: “I have many fond memories and it’s like a second home to me, coming here for sports most of my junior career and I still compete here for the national games and I’m sending athletes here to race from my own academy.”

The Hall of Fame will take pride of place at the entrance of Stoke Mandeville Stadium and will be seen by nearly half a million visitors every year.

Pioneers of the Paralympic movement Eva Loeffler, Margaret Maughan are both recognised for their contribution to the development of wheelchair sport.

Eva has been recognised as the longest serving volunteer of the Paralympic movement since her involvement in the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. Following in her father, Sir Ludwig Guttmann’s steps, Eva became our Chairman and remains a Vice President of WheelPower and a is avid supporter of the charity.

Margaret Maughan is acknowledged as Britain’s first ever Paralympic gold medal winner at Rome 1960. A patient of Sir Ludwig Guttmann at the world National Spinal Injury Centre at Stoke Mandeville, Margaret is a pioneer of the Paralympic movement.

Margaret said on being inducted to the Hall of Fame: “It’s a great honour to me, it was a great surprise because it is a long time since I did my active sport, but I’m still very involved and still very interested and proud to have been in at the beginning of it.”

“Sir Ludwig himself he was my doctor at the hospital. I remember the comradeship, getting to know people, we were really a big family together. Sport was a very big part of my life.”

The Royal Visit of The Countess of Wessex allowed WheelPower to demonstrate the array of sporting opportunities for disabled people. The guests were treated to a tour of the stadium where Stanmore and Stoke Mandeville’s spinal injury centre took part in Table Tennis, Wheelchair Rugby and Archery.

Nearly forty thousand disabled people take part in sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium every year. As president of WheelPower for over 23 years, todays Hall of Fame inductee Mark Vestey has been central to providing these life transforming opportunities.

The redevelopment of Stoke Mandeville Stadium in 2003 would not have been possible without Mark’s influence and the £10.2 million raised by the Sporting Chance Committee, a Committee recruited and spearheaded by Mark.

The newly unveiled names have joined original members Sir Ludwig Guttmann, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sir Philip Craven MBE and Caz Walton OBE.

WheelPower chairman Kevan Baker said “As the owners of Stoke Mandeville Stadium, and as the national organisation of wheelchair sport, WheelPower created the Hall of Fame in 2003.”

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness has been able to visit us to unveil these highly worthy new members to the Hall of Fame and also to see first hand, our work to provide sporting opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries.”

WheelPower have committed to adding new names to the Hall every future Paralympic year to continue celebrating the success and contribution of athletes, coaches, volunteers or supporters of wheelchair sport.