On Air WES VENN

Katy Perry: Hot N ColdiTunesAmazon

Stoke Mandeville - Birthplace Of The Paralympics Is Losing It's Faciltiy For Wheelchair Bowlers

SM Bowls Centre

5:52am 8th June 2011
(Updated 10:23am 8th June 2011)

Buckinghamshire, world famous for being home to the start of the Paralympic Games - is about to lose one it's facilities for disabled competitors.

Officials at the home of Wheelchair Sport at Stoke Mandeville are closing the indoor bowls hall after this coming Christmas, and depriving members of the British Wheelchair Bowls Association of the home they have occupied since 1974.

The British Wheelchair Sports Foundation (BWSF) - now known as ‘Wheelpower’ – have decreed that the facility is too costly, and have plans to convert the building into something more profitable.

The closure will effectively be the death-knell for the able-bodied Stoke Mandeville Indoor Bowls Club, who are based there, and will cause problems for the Britain’s top wheelchair bowlers.

Ian Blackmore, the chairman of the BWBA told Mix 96, "It’s a sad day for us, because bowls has been an ever-present sport at Stoke Mandeville since the late 1940’s, when Dr Ludwig Guttmann pioneered the idea that sport could be part of the rehabilitation process for people who have suffered spinal injuries.

To be honest, we consider Wheelpower’s figures to be suspect, but they apparently made their decision as long ago as last November, and kept quiet about it until April".

Mr Blackmore added "The decision is all the more questionable because it comes in the year leading up to the Paralympic Games. Some of our members are 'dismayed, angry and bewildered' and some of them, who have been members for twenty years or more, and are normally mild-mannered individuals, are ' incandescent, and ready to man the barricades. It has come as a tremendous blow.'"

The Stoke Mandeville Stadium was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1969, and was the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, at which BWBA members have won numerous medals over the years.

Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport said "Unfortunately due to reducing membership of Bowls and increased costs of utilities the building is no longer viable as a Bowls Centre.  The WheelPower Board is discussing alternative uses which will contribute to the financial sustainability of Stoke Mandeville Stadium and continue to provide excellent facilities for disabled sport and the local community."

Mr McElhatton added "We appreciate this will be disappointing news to members of the local indoor bowls club and the British Wheelchair Bowls Association who use the facility currently.  WheelPower will be working with local authorities to help facilitate the bowlers at alternative clubs locally.

In these tough economic times WheelPower has had to take this action as neither the charity or Stoke Mandeville Stadium can sustain continued losses within this area of the business."

Listen here for the full interview with Mr Blackmore:

 

To read more about Wheelpower, click HERE

Share This Story

Delicious Submit this page to reddit
Email Icon Get the latest local news direct to your inbox.
Sign up now for our email updates
.

Comments

No comments have been posted and approved yet.

Submit a Comment

Please log in to comment on this page.

Suggested articles
Vote - Survey

Have your say on The Mandeville Practice in Aylesbury

The Aylesbury Vale NHS Group has released a new survey.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital - Mandeville Wing

Stoke Mandeville A&E gets £1m boost

The funds have been announced to ease pressure on the A&E department this winter.

Most read
sbna_A41 closed accident 1

A41 closed after 'serious accident'

Two people have died in the crash, which has left a stretch of the road shut.

Police - tape & car

Woman has car windows smashed in Morrisons car park

It happened at about 3:20pm on Sunday (21/5).

Newer article

Olympic Legacy In Buckinghamshire

Local: Young people offered expert tuition in sport of their choice

Older article

AVDC receive Anti-ARLA signatures

Local: First batch of 2000 names handed into council today against mega-dairy plans.

Top articles

Woman sexually assaulted in Aylesbury

Local: It happened late Sunday (21/05) night.

Sir Roger Moore, James Bond star, dies at 89

National: James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89 after a "short but brave battle with cancer", his children have said.

HS2: 'It's Stolen My Time & Things I'd Promised Myself For 40 Years'

Local: Stan Mason is 79 and has been fighting the High Speed route for over 6 years. We wanted to see how that's affected him

Sir Roger Moore, James Bond star, dies at 89

Showbiz: James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89 after a "short but brave battle with cancer", his children have said.

David Moyes quits as Sunderland manager after Premier League relegation

Sport: David Moyes has resigned as manager of Sunderland following the club's relegation from the Premier League.

WannaCry attack: Suspicion around North Korea deepens

World: More evidence has been found linking North Korea to the global cyberattack that caused an IT meltdown in the NHS earlier this month.

Clean up of Wendover Arm of Grand Union Canal could take 9 years

Local: The Wendover Arm Trust have been using volunteers to revitalise the waterway.

Aylesbury election candidates on: Housing

Local: From more affordable homes to greener building methods.