President of the IPC Andrew Parsons has called on the entire Paralympic Movement to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first Stoke Mandeville Games ©Getty Images

The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons has called on the entire Paralympic Movement to celebrate today, on what is the 70th anniversary of the first international Stoke Mandeville Games.

A special hospital for soldiers with spinal injuries was set up in the English village of Stoke Mandeville during the Second World War, at which patients would regularly play sport as part of their recovery.

Inspired by this, doctor Sir Ludwig Guttman, a German who helped set up what is now the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC), came up with an idea for an official competition between patients from different countries.

Guttman and his family fled to England just before the outbreak of the war in 1939, as the situation in Germany worsened under Adolf Hitler.

On July 29, 1948, the first Stoke Mandeville Games was held, with 16 injured servicemen and women competing in archery.

"It was so important," said Parsons.

"It was the foundation, the first ever international competition for athletes with an impairment.

"It was the birth, the foundation of what we call today, the Paralympic Movement, and this was thanks to a man called Sir Ludwig Guttman, who is known as the father of the Paralympic Movement."

During his opening speech at the 1948 Games, Guttman said he dreamt of the day "when there will be an Olympic Games for people with disabilities".

Guttman's vision quickly gained momentum and the first official Paralympic Games was held in Rome in 1960.

In a video posted on YouTube, Parsons said "we all should celebrate this special day".

"It is a very special date for a lot of us, to remind ourselves of where we were, where we are and where we want to go in the future," the Brazilian added.

A special archery event, recreating the first one from 1948, is being held today at Stoke Mandeville Stadium today, organised by wheelchair sports charity WheelPower and the NISC.

After the competition, a mural celebrating 70 years of the Paralympic Movement will be unveiled.