Great Britain’s first ever Paralympic gold medallist, Margaret Maughan, has died aged 91 years of age.
Spearheading Great Britain’s Paralympic movement by winning the country’s first gold medal in Rome in 1960, Maughan was an inspiration to many.
Competing in a total of five Games’, Maughan was a strong advocate of the power of sport for disabled people, and such was her standing she was invited to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Paralysed from the waist down in a road accident in Malawi in 1959, Margaret received treatment at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, who pioneered the use of sport in therapy and is acknowledged as the founder of the Paralympic Games. During her rehabilitation Margaret took up archery and joined an archery club.
It was in archery that she became GB’s first Paralympic gold medallist, but Margaret also took part in swimming, winning the Women’s 50m Backstroke in a time of 1:49.2. In total Maughan won five medals during her Paralympic career, three gold and two silver. She competed at the 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980 Paralympic Games, representing Great Britain in Archery, Swimming, Dartchery and Bowls.
Of her passing, British Para-Swimming’s National Performance Director, Chris Furber, said:
“On behalf of British Para-Swimming we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Margaret Maughan. She was a huge inspiration and helped to pave the way for what the Paralympic movement has now become. Watching her light the cauldron in London was an incredible moment and she will be sorely missed by everyone involved in para sport.”