Finmere pupils meet inspirational Paralympic gold medalist

Pupils at Finmere School had the chance to meet a real Paralympic gold medallist, when Sally Haynes MBE paid an inspirational visit last week.

By Hannah Richardson
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 2:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 10:01 am

Local resident Sally competed for Great Britain at the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games in archery, and went on to compete in wheelchair fencing at a further two Games.

She was awarded an MBE in the 1988 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her charitable work.

Sally suffered a spinal injury at the age of 18, after her horse fell during a point-to-point race in Northampton.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sally Haynes MBE at Finmere School

The Finmere Horse Show was established in 1959 by Sally's family and friends, to raise money for her care after her accident.

Sally organised the show again in 1960 to raise the air fare to transport about 50 wheelchair athletes to the 1960 Games in Rome, and it continued to be an annual event until 2015, raising over £50,000 for the Paraplegic Sports Fund at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

In a fascinating presentation, the children heard about Sally’s Paralympic career, her trip to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE and Finmere’s role in enabling British disabled athletes to attend the Paralympic Games.

Head of School Clare Law said: “It was a huge success for staff and for the children. They found her inspirational, they found her incredibly entertaining.”

Children were able to see and hold Sally's medals

"One of the things they really enjoyed was seeing the Paralympic gold medals. They were thrilled to see them, and they all actually got to hold and touch them.

"It was a very powerful talk, the children very much enjoyed it.

“It’s about inclusion, it’s about promoting perseverance.

"Each child got to ask a question at the end and they had some amazing things to ask.

Sally Haynes' MBE

"It was amazing to meet her. The children are looking forward to perhaps seeing her again.”

During Sally’s talk and presentation, Year 6 pupils practised their note taking skills to prepare them for gathering stories from family and friends to add to the Stories from Finmere project.

This is part of the larger Stories from Buckinghamshire project celebrating local Paralympic Heritage, organised by the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) with funding from the HS2 Community Fund and the Thriving Communities Grant.