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Mark was President of WheelPower for over 23 years, and played a key role in providing the facilities and opportunities for disabled people to play sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
The redevelopment of Stoke Mandeville Stadium in 2003 would not have been possible without Mark’s influence and the £10.2 million raised by the Sporting Chance Committee, a Committee recruited and spearheaded by Mark.
Mark, together with his amazing wife Rosie and the whole Vestey family have been incredible supporters of WheelPower and organised many major fundraising events over the years supported by their friends through the London Committee and co-Chairmen, Annabelle Christie and Kye (The Countess of) Westmorland raising over £5,000,000 to enable the charity to provide sporting opportunities for young and newly disabled people.
Building on the success of the Appeal to redevelop Stoke Mandeville Stadium Mark continued to support WheelPower’s work and helped launch the Wheel Appeal, which has provided over 500 sports wheelchairs thus removing the barrier to participation in sport for many disabled children and adults.
On 1st March 2014 Stoke Mandeville was honoured by the International Paralympic Committee by becoming the only international leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay with the inaugural Heritage Flame Lighting event held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. It is fair to say that without the dedication of Mark to redevelop the facilities and re-establish Stoke Mandeville at the heart of Paralympic Heritage these events could not have taken place.
Through his personal commitment and incredible contribution Mark’s energy has enabled WheelPower to realise its dreams of providing world leading training and competition facilities for disabled men, women and children of all ages and abilities.
In recognition of Mark’s incredible contribution to WheelPower and Stoke Mandeville Stadium he was inducted into the Stoke Mandeville Hall of Fame in 2014. Click here to watch Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex induct Mark into the Stoke MandevilleHall of Fame.
Mark passed away in 2016 and is greatly missed by everyone at WheelPower and Stoke Mandeville. His legacy will be felt by the many young and newly disabled people enjoying sport and physical activity and the facilities at Stoke Mandeville Stadium now and in the future.
“It is impossible to measure the positive impact Mark has had on the lives of disabled people who will never know who was behind the wonderful facilities at Stoke Mandeville Stadium or the opportunity provided for them to play and enjoy sport.” - Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of WheelPower