Voting is now officially open for the GDST Alumna of the Year Award. This recognises the many varied achievements of our alumnae and the winner is voted for by alumnae and students, from a shortlist of nominees sent in by each GDST school.
In 2015, two of our nominations were in the shortlist. They were Gemma Mortensen, Executive Director of Crisis Action and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at UCL. For 2016, we nominated Jessica Glover who is Head, Talent and Capability at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and formerly the Deputy Ambassador to Poland plus Eva Loeffler – Daughter of the Founder of the Paralympic Games and the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Mayor of the London 2012 Olympics Paralympic Village.
We are delighted that Eva has been shortlisted for the 2016 Award and voting is now OPEN! All alumnae, students and parents can vote – just click here to cast yours – VOTE HERE . Read below why we believe she should be the GDST Alumna of the Year – get voting everyone!
Eva came to the UK from Nazi Germany as a child with her visionary father, Sir Ludwig Guttmann who founded the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, treating wounded soldiers during WWII. He strongly believed in sport being the best rehabilitation for his patients. Her father was the driving force behind the concept of paraplegics, and he organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, which became the Paralympic Movement. This isn’t a nomination for her father’s legacy, this is in recognition of Eva herself who, after leaving OHS, trained in physiotherapy and continued what has been a lifelong commitment to volunteering that began as a teenager at those first wheelchair Games in 1948. Now, she is recognised as the longest serving volunteer of the Paralympic movement, an original Director of the British Paralympic Association and Mayor of the London Para-Olympic Village. She tirelessly champions the role of the paralympics with students across the world. We believe that in an Olympic year but also in a time of great debate, argument and fear about what it is to be a refugee building a life in a new country, it is fitting to celebrate the strength, determination and conviction that Eva has shown in her commitment to the world of volunteering. She fought to help others overcome a perception of disability through achieving excellence in sport. Her story, from arriving in England in 1939 as a frightened six year old escaping Nazi persecution to having the passion and vision to actively influence change for the better for disabled athletes worldwide, is one that will resonate with today’s girls within the GDST. As a role model in championing the cause of athletes who go on to inspire us with their ability to overcome adversity, she offers so many different perspectives on courage, commitment, confidence and composure. Her story is contemporary with today’s audience as much is it is a part of our British and European history.