25 DECEMBER 1964, Page 14


SIR,-1 was interested to read Alan Brien's 'After- thought' in your issue of November 27, following upon the comments I had heard of the television programme in which he and his colleagues had discussed the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Coming back from Japan, where our Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralysed (Paralympics) had' been such an outstanding success both as a sporting event and humanitarian ventlre, 1 could not but edniprai the burning epthusiasm of the Japanese people, who recognised in our games a great hope for. their thousands of disabled people, with the jaundiced views of Alan Brien. This was the more to be re- gretted, as it was Great Britain who gave the lead to this international sports movement by founding the Stoke Mandeville Games for the Paralysed in 1948, which since 1952 have embraced -thousands of paralysed people all over the world.

The British paraplegic team in Tokyo excelled itself by its splendid sportsmanship and has earned the admiration and friendship of the Japanese people. Since their return, their success has been acknow- ledged all over the country and members have been invited by civic authorities to receptions given in their honour, including an invitation by the Lord Mayor of London to a reception given to mem- bers of the British Olympic teams at Guildhall. Her Majesty the Queen sent a letter of congratula- tions to Dr. L. Guttmann, the founder of the games, and the whole team have received an invitatinn' from the Prime Minister to attend a party at 10 Downing Street given in their honour. It is deeply gratifying to know that the British public, with its great re- gard for sport, has repudiated the views expressed by Mr. Brien and has indeed caused him to change them. For, as Mr. Brien has learned, thoughtless 'off-the-cuff' remarks, publioly expressed, can cause distress to many disabled people who .are making such a success of living as respected citizens within the community, and to whom sport is just as essential as to the able-bodied.

JOAN SCRUTON '• Hon. Sec., International Stoke M'andeville Games .Committee, Hon. Sec., British' Sports Association for the Disabled Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Bucks.