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Margaret Maughan: Britain’s First Paralympic Champion Dies Aged 91

May 21, 2020

Margaret Maughan, Britain’s first Paralympic gold medallist, has died aged 91.

Maughan was paralysed in a car accident in Malawi in 1959 but took up archery as part of her rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville hospital and was selected for the 1960 Paralympics in Rome.

She won two gold medals – in archery and swimming – and went on to compete in four further Games.

In 2012, she lit the flame at the London Paralympics opening ceremony.

In a BBC interview that year, she recalled the bizarre nature of how she found out she had created history in Rome.

“All of the competitors had shot their six arrows but nobody was told what their scores were,” she said.

“I just went off and joined my other friends and went to support everyone else.

“The day went on and we were put on the coaches to go home and somebody said ‘Where’s Margaret Maughan? She’s needed for a medal ceremony.’

“So they had to find my wheelchair amongst all the others, lift me out, and off we went to a very nice little podium with ramps to get up to the first, second and third places and to my amazement I was in the gold medal position.”

She added: “I feel very proud to be at the start of all this. From just a team of 70 British people in wheelchairs at the first Games, now there are hundreds from all disabilities.”

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