The charity that manages Britain’s Paralympics teams has launched a search for hundreds of missing Paralympians.
ParalympicsGB wants to track down as many as 1, 700 sportsmen and women who have competed for Britain at previous Paralympic Games but have now dropped out of contact.
It wants them to sign up to the Paralympians’ Club, a new website designed to reunite former GB teammates and “engage the public” in the run-up to London 2012, and provide a way for local communities to request a Paralympian for a public appearance.
The club will also offer benefits provided by London 2012 sponsors to its members, including access to a career support programme from sponsor Adecco, with other benefits yet to be confirmed.
ParalympicsGB hopes the website will become a popular resource for schools and colleges to find out more about current and former stars in the build-up to 2012. The plan is for every member of the Paralympians’ Club to eventually have their own profile on the site.
Phil Lane, chief executive of ParalympicsGB, said the charity had in the past failed to keep in contact with retired Paralympic athletes in “any systematic way” and suspected there could be as many as 1,700 “missing” Paralympians, dating back to the first summer Paralympics in 1960.
The search was launched by double Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who said: “I am proud to be a Paralympian and to be a member of the Paralympians’ Club.
“Not only does the club offer some great benefits, but it’s great for the public as they can use the website to find out more about us.
“I would really encourage anyone who competed for Great Britain at a Paralympic Games to contact ParalympicsGB and join the club.”
Former British team members can contact retired Paralympian Iain Gowans at [email protected]
For more information, visit www.paralympiansclub.org.uk
23 June 2010