The Poppa Guttmann Recognition and Celebration Project
at The National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville

The Poppa Guttmann Recognition and Celebration Project

An enterprise of The Poppa Guttmann Trust and The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA - click here)


In 1944 the life expectancy for someone who sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) was just 3 months. No treatment existed and people were left to die.

This situation completely changed because of the founding of spinal cord injury treatment by Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann


Professor Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann, whilst honoured during his lifetime, has no permanent tribute to recognise and celebrate his outstanding work and legacy both at his National Spinal injuries Centre (NSIC) and The Paralympic Games, which developed from an archery competition on the grass outside the NSIC for his patients on the opening day of the 1948 London Olympic Games.


This project has corrected this long overdue absence of an acknowledgement of the esteem in which he is held. This has been achieved by establishing the following:


Poppa Guttmann statue

We commissioned a brilliant sculptor, Jacko, to create a life size bronze statue of “Poppa” to stand outside The NSIC. He is not only a great sculptor but is a "near miss" in Spinal Injury terms having survived a serious parachuting accident. Like most Spinal Cord Injured (SCI) people he had to rethink his career and, having left the army, trained in Florence as a sculptor.  The statue was unveiled in june 2012 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. it now stands outside the national spinal injuries centre where it was installed on 29th August 2013. This was the first anniverary of the opening of the 2012 london paralympic games; the Poppa Guttmann Trust donated the statue to the Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust on this occasion. A head and shoulder bust from the same mould was donated to the international paralympic committee and this will be displayed at all future summer and winter Paralympic Games.

Click here to find out more about the statue


Arts Programme

A qualified Arts Co-ordinator, Vivienne Gordon has been employed and will liaise with visiting artists, university arts departments and art colleges to assist in this education. These contributors will also benefit by understanding the needs and methods of teaching disabled people. This has become a permanent and integral part of the rehabilitation of patients at the same time as enjoying their spare time constructively. There is no doubt about the benefits of combining art and healthcare and this will further mirror Poppa’s philosophy and legacy of using sport to create reintegration and self esteem following injury.

Click here to find out more about the Rehabilitation through Arts



A book written by an ex patient and the senior nurse of Poppa's about Poppa and the early days of the NSIC has also been commissioned. Unfortunately this has been delayed due to the ill health of the author

 Click here to find out more about the book


Celebration and unveiling

The unveiling of the statue took place at The Stoke Mandeville Stadium in June 2012 with a reception and reunion for former and existing NSIC patients and staff as well as a number of special guests. This formed part of the build up to The London Paralympic Games.

The statue is now permanently sited to honour “Poppa” Guttmann outside his NSIC at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.


The Poppa Guttmann Trust
Charity Number: 1134644
©The Poppa Guttmann Trust, 2010
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