London 2012 polyclinic to be named after Paralympic founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
September 11 - New Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed that the London 2012 polyclinic situated in the heart of the Olympic Village will be renamed after Paralympic founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann as a lasting tribute to the German neurologist.
Sir Ludwig sowed the seeds for the Paralympics in 1948 in Britain when he organised sporting competitions for injured patients in Stoke Mandeville, many of who were rehabilitating from World War Two at the local hospital.
The polyclinic (pictured top), used by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic stars of during the Games, will be handed over to the National Health Service (NHS) and eventually become the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health Centre when it reopens with the rest of the Olympic Park facilities next year.
It will serve the new residents of the Olympic Village – which will become known as the East Village – and the existing local community, while alongside its medical and pharmacy services, it will provide a range of healthy activities to be chosen and run by the local community.
"Sir Ludwig Guttmann devoted his life to improving the care of disabled people, using sport to help turn people's lives around completely," said Hunt, who was promoted from Cultural Secretary to Health Secretary in Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle last week.
"Without his innovative work, it's clear that the Paralympics as we know them today would simply not exist.
"So it's only fitting that we dedicate this state-of-the-art health centre to his memory.
"The Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health Centre, which will be handed over to the NHS and local authorities, will bring a lasting legacy to the East Village and new community.
"It will not only keep the sporting heritage of the site alive and well, it will also provide high quality care for a whole new generation of patients."
The new Cultural Secretary Maria Miller, Hunt's successor in the senior Government role, has also welcomed the move.
"The new health centre will be a really important part of the legacy of the Games for east London," she said.
"And naming it after Sir Ludwig Guttman will help keep the incredible inspiration of the Paralympic Games alive."
After fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939, Sir Ludwig, who was Jewish, was asked by the British Government to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to help injured World War Two soldiers.
It was in 1948 that he held an archery competition at Stoke to coincide with the London 1948 Olympics and four years later the 16-participant event became an international competition, setting the foundations for the first Paralympics in Rome in 1960.
Eva Loeffler, the daughter of Sir Ludwig Guttmann and the Mayor of the London 2012 Paralympics Village, admitted that her father would have been delighted by the announcement.
"My father would have been honoured and thrilled to know that the legacy of the London 2012 Games would include a polyclinic that bore his name and served a community that had its roots in the wonderful Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012," she said.
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