Charity patron’s in the best of company in new role

Roger Jefcoate, left, Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, right, and WheelPower chief executive Martin McElhatton, front, with statue of Sir Ludwig Guttmann
Roger Jefcoate, left, Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, right, and WheelPower chief executive Martin McElhatton, front, with statue of Sir Ludwig Guttmann
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A man who helped raise millions of pounds for a disability charity has been asked to become its patron.

Winslow man Roger Jefcoate has accepted an invitation to become a patron of the Wheelchair sports charity WheelPower.

And he’s in great company, as the charity counts Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson and the Prince of Wales among its other patrons.

Mr Jefcoate, aged 74, has been improving the lives of disabled people for over five decades, since he began work with the founder of the Paralympic movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, in 1962.

He worked with at the National Spinal Injuries Centre to develop pioneering assistive and communication technology, including the world’s first remote control system for independent living, still provided today by the NHS.

WheelPower is the national charity for wheelchair spor, which provides opportunities, facilities and equipment for disabled people to lead healthy, active lives.

The charity runs Stoke Mandeville Stadium, the national disability sports centre, used by up to 38,000 disabled people.

WheelPower chief executive Martin McElhatton said: “We are delighted to have someone with Roger’s achievements, passion and experience accept this position in our charity.

“He was a key player in helping our Sporting Chance appeal to raise £10 million to redevelop Stoke Mandeville Stadium. He shares our values of inclusivity in sport and will continue to be a huge asset to WheelPower.”

Mr Jefcoate said: “I am honoured by this appointment and will help to promote this very active organisation to enhance the lives of disabled people through sport.”

Mr Jefcoate is also a patron of South Bucks Hospice in High Wycombe, a senior patron of the Pace centre in Stoke Mandeville and a patron of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.

He is national patron of the Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association and the MS National Therapy Centres.

In 1998, he was made a CBE for services to disabled people and in 2010 he was awarded the Order of St John; in 2011 he became a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

Mr Jefcoate has founded or co-founded many national healthcare and disability charities, including Sequal Trust (communication aids), Mobility Trust (powered wheelchairs), Demand (design and manufacture for disability), Disability Aid Fund, Canine Partners (assistance dogs), AbilityNet (adapted computers), ME Research UK and Medical Detection Dogs.