Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A remarkable woman

We have recently added a fantastic set of objects to our collection related to the life of a remarkable local woman, the late Stephanie Park.

Stephanie Park née Hopley (1940-2012) was a nurse and midwife from Wakefield, who became a disability pioneer when she had her left leg amputated following a car accident. Stephanie took up shooting, competing for Great Britain and winning many prizes. Later, she gave up much of her time to coaching others and helped to establish the disability advice telephone line, DIAL. She also served as secretary of the Yorkshire branch of the British Association for the Disabled.

We are very grateful to her proud son, Daniel, for kindly donating his mother’s archive to us. Stephanie was an inspiration to Daniel, who wanted to make sure that disabled women are represented in the museum’s collection. This is just a selection of objects to give a flavour of the collection and of Stephanie’s many achievements.
Stephanie qualified as a midwife in 1963. Her midwife's medallion was made by the jewelers Thomas Fattorini Ltd and features Juno Lucina, a Roman goddess of childbirth

After losing her leg, Stephanie took up sport, adopting shooting as her preferred discipline. This certificate from the National Small Bore Rifle Association officially gave her permission to compete from her wheelchair.
This brass chalice for first place was the first trophy Stephanie won in her shooting career in 1985

Stephanie came first in her event at the Disability Air Rifle World Championships held at Appledoorn, the Netherlands in 1987. She received this Delftsche Huys beer stein as part of her prize

This is a target shot from the National Small Bore Rifle Association Championship in Cardiff, 1989, where Stephanie Park won 1st place in the 10 metre air rifle event. At the Cardiff 1989 Open Shoot non-disabled and disabled athletes competed on an equal basis.
Stephanie also gave up her time to coach and support other disabled athletes and was an adviser to the Sport Aid Foundation. Many of the athletes she helped went on to compete in the London Paralympics of 2012. This trophy was awarded posthumously as recognition for all Stephanie’s efforts for disability sport. Stephanie died in 2012. Friends and family remembered her warmly. Her memory now lives on in the museum collection

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