Beryle Bell
Why was Ludwig Guttmann called “Poppa”?

In 1946, Dr Ludwig Guttmann was asked by a surgeon if he would see Beryle. When he visited he found the fourteen year old girl, who was very thin and only four stone, with numerous bed sores and legs fixed in extension. He felt very sorry for her and then aged 15 she came to Stoke Mandeville, the first non-military patient in Guttmann’s Spinal Injury Centre.

Beryle was there six and a half years, and one year for Christmas she gave Guttmann a lighter with “Poppa” engraved on it as she felt he had brought her up between 15-22 years old. This is how Guttmann got the name Poppa. To read more, click here or on Beryle´s picture.


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The Poppa Guttmann statue in Buckinghamshire

Sir Ludwig “Poppa” Guttmann (1899-1980) has forever changed the lives of people with spinal injuries by improving their medical and social treatment as well as founding the Paralympic Games.

Increased recognition of this remarkable pioneer is long overdue and the Poppa Guttmann Trust was established to provide just that – a celebration of the legacy of this genius of a man.

A life size bronze statue of “Poppa”, as he was endearingly known, was unveiled at a great reunion festivity of (former) patients and hospital staff at 24th June 2012, and finally installed outside the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 2013.

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Poppa with his son Dr. Dennis Guttmann and daughter Eva Loeffler

A bronze bust from the same mould as the statue was presented to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), which was displayed at the 2012 Paralympic Games. The IPC also agreed to take the bust to all future winter and summer Paralympic Games.

The Poppa Guttmann Trust has also been involved in the establishment of an Arts Programme at the NSIC, to provide patients with the opportunity to explore their artistic talents in addition to their physical capabilities.