A former patient of Sir Ludwig Guttmann has passed away after suffering from a heart attack.
Roy Everson died late on Friday evening aged 76, having spent 55 years in a wheelchair.
Mr Everson was widely known at Stoke Mandeville Stadium after spending 20 years working in a variety of roles there and at the hospital’s spinal unit, where he helped in peer support.
His partner of eight years, Sue Rutson, said: “He was such a popular figure in Aylesbury. He was inspirational.
“He helped the new patient’s families get used to the idea (of their relative being a paraplegic).
“He would say to them, ‘you may be a tetraplegic but you will be a successful tetraplegic’.
“He was so close to the hospital. He encouraged patients in their new life as a paraplegic or tetraplegic.”
The former Royal Navy officer came to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1950’s, when he was 21, after an abscess in his spine went undiscovered and led to him no longer being able to walk.
He quickly adapted to his new life in a wheelchair and Ms Rutson said he had quite the reputation with the nurses.
“He was always flirting with them. He just loved everybody and everybody loved him. He would do anything for anybody.”
Ms Rutson added the best moments she spent with him were when they laughed together.
“He had a great sense of humour, quite a naughty one really. He was just a young kid inside. He was my rock, I think he was a rock for many people.
After spending time recuperating at the spinal unit under Guttmann, Mr Everson went on to win a gold medal in fencing at the International Games in 1957.
Having died just five days after the closing ceremony of what is widely believed to be the greatest ever Paralympics, Ms Rutson said the Games had meant an awful lot to Mr Everson.
“He loved it. We went to the dinner at the stadium for the opening ceremony.
“He wore his medal with pride. He had been a part of it since the early days.”