Two lasting tributes to the founder of the modern Paralympic Games, Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann, are to be unveiled on June 24, 2012, during a special ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
A life-sized cast-bronze statue and a bronze bust have both been commissioned by the Poppa Guttmann Trust and The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA). The statue will be formally installed in its permanent home at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, where Guttmann held the first Paralympic sports event in 1948, on the opening day of the 1948 London Olympic Games, as part of his commitment to the promotion of sport as an effective rehabilitation method for those with spinal cord injuries.
Mike Mackenzie, chairman of The Poppa Guttmann Trust, said, “In this pivotal year, during which the Games will be returning home to the U.K., we wanted to create a lasting memorial to Professor Guttmann's contribution to the initiation of 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 now able to enjoy such active and fulfilling sporting experiences.”
Meanwhile, the bronze bust, which has been funded by Aggreko, the Official Temporary Energy Services Provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be presented to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The bust will then be loaned by the IPC to all future host nations of the Paralympic Games as a symbol of remembrance of Guttmann’s achievements.
The artworks were created by sculptor Mark Jackson. The sculpture will be unveiled by Guttmann's daughter, Eva Loeffler OBE, and his son Dennis Guttmann, while the bust will be presented to Sir Philip Craven MBE, president of the IPC, by Rupert Soames, CEO of Aggreko.
“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,” Soames said. “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 to be able to assist it in its aim.”