New exhibition celebrates Maidenhead and the Olympics

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A special exhibition about Maidenhead's Olympic and Paralympic connections opened on Saturday, with memorabilia from the 1948 and 2012 London Olympics on display. Nirmal Noteha, Volunteer

Just in time for the opening of the Tokyo Olympics tomorrow (Friday), Maidenhead Heritage Centre has opened a special exhibition celebrating the town’s connections with the Games.

The Park Street centre will commemorate the contribution of Lord Desborough, as well as Maidenhead’s Olympians and Paralympians.

Maidenhead’s first medal winners were rowers Bert Bushnell and Richard Burnell, who won gold in the double sculls at Henley in 1948.

That year, Stanley Jones ran in the marathon. His running vest, GB team blazer and other memorabilia are part of the collection.

Also on display is the Olympic torch which carried the flame from Wembley to Torquay.

1948 also saw the first games for disabled athletes, forerunning the Paralympic Games.

Since 1976, Windsor Ascot Maidenhead District Sports Association for the Disabled (WAMDSAD) and SportsAble members have competed in every Paralympic Games.

Shooter Di Coates competed in 12 successive Paralympics, while ‘Paralympic superhero’ Jeanette Chippington is competing in her sixth Games this year.

“We are delighted so many people offered their Olympic uniforms, souvenirs and even a really colourful duvet from a bed in the officials’ hotel near the stadium,” said MHC chairman Richard Poad.

“Visitors will find this a fascinating exhibition, even if the claim they are ‘not into sport’.”

Free 15-minute taster flights on the Centre’s Spitfire Simulator are also being offered to visitors when commercial booking, on a first-come-first-served basis.

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