Margaret Maughan

Margaret Maughan

The UK’s First Paralympic Gold Medallist

 Some of you will have noticed that the UK’s first Paralympic Gold medallist in the first Paralympic Games in 1960, Margaret Maughan, died this month (May 2020) aged 91.

Court Assistant Michael de Styrcea spotted an obituary in the Daily Telegraph.  Margaret won her first gold medal for Archery in Rome and she went on to compete at another 4 games winning a total of 4 gold and 2 silver medals across 4 sports.

To this Liveryman Hilda Gibson adds some memories of meeting Margaret in the excitement of the 2012 Paralympic Games.

"When I was working for London 2012, we (the Archery Sport Team) were frustrated that more was not made of Para Archery as the first Paralympic sport.  Also, the identity of who would light the flame at the Opening Ceremonies was a closely guarded secret, with lots of speculation going on in the press.  I don't think Margaret's name came up.  At the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympic Games, I was delighted when they did a cameo of Margaret Maughan and recognised her as winning the first British Paralympic Gold Medal.  I was then thrilled when it turned out that she lit the Paralympic flame!

 "After the Opening Ceremony, we approached Margaret and she agreed to come to the Woolwich Royal Artillery Barracks (where the Para Archery events were held) to present medals.  She presented both the Women’s and the Men's Recurve Team medals and then spent time with Dani Brown and Mel Clarke, chatting with them about the Gold and Silver medals they had won the previous day.  It was a privilege to meet her.  She was very charming with an infectious smile.

“I attach one of my favourite 'snaps' of London 2012, taken with Margaret in the athlete call area after she arrived to present medals.”

 Several Fletchers will also remember attending those medal ceremonies on what was perhaps our first experience of international Para Archery at this level.  Here is a photo of Margaret presenting the medals at the ceremony for the Men's Recurve Team Open.  I don't think that I was alone in thinking that the medallists had a huge respect for Margaret and gave her a very warm welcome.

If you want a reminder of the 2012 Opening Ceremony try this link. A new page will open with a 3h 50m show of the whole thing and if you go to 3h 33m 35s you will see the last 3 torchbearers bringing the flame into the stadium and Margaret lighting the stadium flame that looked like a giant dandelion.  Enjoy a reminder of a great show.

Certainly some happy Fletcher memories of a lovely lady who helped pioneer Para Archery at Stoke Mandeville and at the Paralympic Games.  Our thoughts go out to her family who, no doubt, have many more happy memories of Margaret.


PM Andrew McMillan