University of St Mark and St John

The University holds a collection of images and college magazine articles relating to Paralympian Tony Willis, inclusive sports developments, training developments, and potential Paralympians. The image show here depicts the cover image of the Marjon Magazine from 1999 which contains a feature on Tony Willis, alumnus, PE teacher and athlete 1974. A knee injury age 8 led to a full leg amputation. The article in the magazine tells Tony’s story, also part of the story of the development of the Paralympic movement as he was selected for the World Disabled Olympic Festival in 1980. He was an early example of ‘crowdfunding’ raising the £700 needed to allow him to attend the Games as there was no funding, sponsorship or prize money available at that stage, and training at the Stoke Mandeville Centre was remote and expensive. The campaign raised £7000 and the surplus was donated to Stoke Mandeville. Tony took silver in the high jump, and gold in the pentathlon, also taking a world record in the process.

In addition the collection includes:

Material relating to our alumni including Fred Wall, the former President of the FA and responsible for the purchase of the original Wembley Stadium (he foresaw the effect of cheaper travel and the impact on crowd capacity); JR Schumacher (Referee Association), played against Spurs 1880’s – in the first Spurs match ever to have a programme (we have a copy). He went on to devise the classification code for referees still broadly in use today; Lyndon Gruchy who went out to pioneer sports development in Mico College in the West Indies 1800s.