The health centre at the heart of the London 2012 Athletes’ Village will be renamed as a lasting tribute to the father of the Paralympic movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.
The polyclinic used by the sporting stars of London 2012 will be handed over to the NHS and eventually become the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Health Centre. The centre will serve the new residents of the Olympic Village (which will be known as the East Village) and the existing local community.
Alongside its GP and pharmacy services, the centre will also provide a range of healthy activities, to be chosen and run by the local community.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“Sir Ludwig Guttmann devoted his life to improving the care of disabled people, using sport to help turn people’s lives around completely. 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.”
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said:
“The new health centre will be a really important part of the legacy of the Games for east London. And naming it after Sir Ludwig Guttman will help keep the incredible inspiration of the Paralympic Games alive.”
Eva Loeffler, Mayor of the Olympic Village and daughter of Sir Ludwig Guttmann said:
“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.”
Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a pioneering neurologist, founded the Paralympic movement by incorporating sport into his rehabilitation programme for ex-servicemen after World War II.
In 1948, Sir Ludwig held an archery competition at Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s National Spinal Injury Centre to coincide with the London Olympics. Four years later the 16-participant event became an international competition, setting the foundations for the first Paralympics in Rome in 1960.
Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said:
“This is a fitting tribute to a great man who started this movement. I’m thrilled that his legacy will live on long after London 2012 comes to a close.”
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, said:
“The health centre is going to be at the very heart of the new community that we have built, along with a school and thousands of new homes. As the task begins of transforming the facilities used by the world’s best athletes to ensure lasting benefits for Londoners for generations to come, the name of Ludwig Guttmann will always be there to remind people how Paralympic sport began, and about the extraordinary summer of London 2012.”