Guttmann and Paralympic statues unveiled at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Sir Ludwig Guttmann's son, Dr Dennis Guttmann, and daughter, Eva Loffler, unveil a statue of him at Stoke Mandeville Hospital
Sir Ludwig Guttmann's son, Dr Dennis Guttmann, and daughter, Eva Loffler, unveil a statue of him at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Statues of Sir Ludwig ‘Poppa’ Guttmann, the founder of the Paralympic movement, and an Agitos, the movement’s symbol, have been unveiled at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The life-sized cast-bronze statue of Sir Ludwig, which has been on display since 2012 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, was conceived and commissioned by the Poppa Guttmann Trust and will be on display outside the National Spinal Injuries Centre.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven (left) and Tim Reddish OBE, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, with the Agitos at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven (left) and Tim Reddish OBE, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, with the Agitos at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Michael Mackenzie, the trust’s chairman, said: “Thousands of us with a spinal cord injury owe our lives to Poppa Guttmann.

“Since my injury and rehabilitation at the National Spinal Injuries Centre 20 years ago I have enjoyed a more fulfilling life than before.

“The Poppa Guttmann Trust was established to recognise and celebrate the life, work and legacy of Sir Ludwig Guttmann, endearingly known as Poppa.

“We and his family are delighted that a life size bronze statue is now permanently sited outside the NSIC and a bust from the same mould will always be at future Paralympic games.”

The Agitos will act as a lasting reminder of the pivotal role the hospital played in the development of the games.

Neil Dardis, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are really excited about having these installations at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

“We are tremendously proud of Professor Guttmann’s work at the hospital, in both establishing our National Spinal Injuries Centre and his unique approach to rehabilitation which lead to the creation of the Paralympic movement.

“We hope that, as well as providing an important reminder of his work, the statue and the Agitos will be an inspiration to our staff and spinal patients.”