Aylesbury Vale and the growth of the Paralympics part 4: Outcomes achieved by Stories from Finmere project

The fourth and final instalment of our look back at the huge local influence on the history of the Paralympic movement
A picture from the school’s projectA picture from the school’s project
A picture from the school’s project

In this final article about the Finmere Show, which was originally organised to raise funds following an riding accident experienced by the promising steeplechaser, Sally Haynes – and going on to be fundamental in providing crucial funds for Paralympic sports – we highlight the outcomes achieved by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust’s ’Stories from Finmere’ project.

The Finmere Horse Show was organised thanks to an incredible community effort, so it was fitting when researching the stories of its inception and history that these conversations brought lots of the same people together after so many years. The project’s main artefact is a film created by the filmmaker, Kay Ashton MBE, for the National Paralympic Heritage Trust. The film, which will be available on the Trust’s website, documents some amazing, enduring memories shared in interviews by many of the residents who made the Show happen.

The film follows Sally Haynes when she revisits the original site of the Show, Hill Leys, in the village of Finmere and shows her meeting some old friends and chatting to local school children. Kay Ashton spent time at Finmere Primary School seeing how the story of the Show inspired the pupils and treated them to a masterclass showing them how to create their own films. Kay’s film will be accompanied by British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation and subtitles to ensure it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. Many of the oral histories shared by the community have also been captured in a series of podcasts.

To celebrate the wonderful lasting legacy the project will have on the school and community and to ensure the local community’s impact on Paralympic Games will never be forgotten, the National Paralympic Trust will show the film at an inaugural ‘Reminiscence Tea’ to be held at Finmere Village Hall in the spring. The aim is to hold subsequent tea parties to keep these old friendships alive and to cement many new ones.

Although the project is coming to a close, the National Paralympic Heritage Trust is always keen to hear your stories. If you have any memories you’d like to share then please get in touch with the Trust by email.

The National Paralympic Heritage Trust was established in 2015 to share British Paralympic heritage and are running the ‘Stories from Finmere’ project thanks to joint-funding through the ‘Stories from Buckinghamshire’ project supported by the HS2 Community Fund and the Thriving Communities Grant and the ‘New Stories, New Audiences’ project which is funded by the Association of Independent Museums (AiM).

> Aylesbury Vale and wider Bucks has a rich history. We are looking to expand our heritage section and nostalgia offering on the website and in print. Would you like to contribute to The Bucks Herald’s nostalgia columns or articles? Get in touch with us with your memories, stories and – most importantly – pictures by email

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