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IPC saddened by passing of British Paralympian Margaret Maughan

Great Britain’s first Paralympic gold medallist was also a pioneer in the Paralympic Movement 20 May 2020
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Older female woman in wheelchair lighting cauldron of Paralympic Games
Margaret Maughan lights the cauldron during the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony
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By IPC, Paralympics GB, WheelPower

The Paralympic Movement is mourning the loss of Margaret Maughan, Great Britain’s first Paralympic champion, who has passed away aged 91.

Maughan participated in the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and went on to compete in four more editions. After her sporting career, she remained a fervent advocate of the power of Para sports and her efforts did not go unnoticed.  Her impact on the Paralympic Movement was recognised at the London 2012 Paralympic Games when she was invited to light the cauldron during the Opening Ceremony.

Maughan was paralysed from the waist down in a road accident in Malawi in 1959. She returned to Great Britain and was treated at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, the founder of the Paralympic Movement who pioneered the use of sport in rehabilitation. During this time, Maughan took up archery and found success in the sport at Rome 1960.

She continued as part of the British team competing in archery, bowls, dartchery and swimming until Arnhem 1980, winning a total of five Paralympic medals (three gold and two silver).

“The International Paralympic Committee and entire Paralympic Movement is truly saddened by the loss of a true legend in Margaret. She was a beneficiary of the outstanding rehabilitation methods of the Movement’s founding father Sir Ludwig Guttmann and someone who witnessed first-hand the growth of the Paralympic Movement. We will be eternally thankful for her pioneering role in connecting persons with a disability with Para sports,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons.

Nick Webborn, British Paralympic Association Chair, said: “Although her passing is extremely sad, the fact that she lived until the age of 91 is testament to the work of Sir Ludwig Guttman who transformed the care of people with spinal cord injury, and that through sport people with disabilities can enjoy rich and fulfilling lives.

“Margaret, we thank you and salute you for all that you did, and although we will miss you tremendously, we will never forget you.”

Martin McElhatton OBE, Chief Executive of Wheelpower, said: “Margaret was a shining light and a wonderful example to other disabled people of how to live a full and active life after a spinal cord injury. Margaret’s sparkling personality and verve meant she was unique and special to so many people.”