SportsAble exhibition to pay tribute to 46-year history of valued club

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Trophies galore form part of an exhibition paying tribute to SportsAble at Maidenhead Heritage Centre – which reopens on Monday, May 17, alongside other museums and galleries.

The ‘Tribute to SportsAble’ will run for three to four weeks during the centre’s normal opening hours, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

This exhibition marks a fond farewell to SportsAble, which is formally closing at the end of this month.

The club started in the 1970s with a handful of members and grew to hundreds of people actively taking part in sport.

Every year since setting up, SportsAble members have had successes at regional, national and Paralympic competitions.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Richard Poad, chairman of the town's museum in Park Street. “The closure of SportsAble after 46 years as an inspiring disability sports club is a tragedy.

“It should never be forgotten. I think what they achieved was absolutely incredible.

“Every SportsAble member had achievements to be proud of, and in turn we are proud to be chosen to preserve those stories. I hope it will inspire future generations.”

As well as SportsAble members participating in the Paralympic games, the club did ‘equally if not more important work’ representing everyday people with disabilities.

The Heritage Centre exhibition will feature around two cases of trophies alongside other memorabilia such as sportswear and the club’s collection boxes.

These date back to the original organisation founded in in 1975, WAMDSAD, which stood for Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead Sports Association for the Disabled.

Within a year of setting up, the club had athletes entered in the 1976 Paralympics and the club won many awards in its lifetime from national disabled sports bodies.

In 1996, WAMDSAD won the Top Club Award for the best sports club for the disabled in the UK and the Local Sports Council Award for the best-developed club in the district.

In 2001 SportsAble was a runner-up in the Sports Club of the Year Awards, organised by the Central Council of Physical Recreation for all voluntary clubs in the UK.

WAMDSAD founding members remained a part of the club until it closed down.

The Heritage Centre’s photos include Princess Anne opening the WAMDSAD clubhouse in 1982, and Prince Philip opening the New Hall in 1996.

Those photos honour some of the club’s most memorable events, including its annual Wheelchair Push.

Visitors to the Heritage Centre on opening day will be offered a celebratory drink and the chance to enjoy a free taster flight on the Centre's popular Spitfire simulator, on a first come, first served basis.

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