Britain’s first Paralympics gold medallist Margaret Maughan has died at the age of 91.

Maughan won gold in both archery and swimming at the 1960 Games in Rome, just a year after she was paralysed from the waist down after a car accident in Malawi, and went on to compete in four further Paralympics and win four more medals, including gold in lawn bowls at Arnheim in 1980.

In 2012, she was the final torchbearer and lit the flame at the London Paralympics opening ceremony and told the BBC at the time: “I feel very proud to be at the start of all this. From just a team of 70 British people in wheelchairs at the first Games, now there are hundreds from all disabilities.”

The Lancashire-born teacher had returned in 1959 from Africa to England for treatment at the Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire where the spinal injury unit founder Ludwig Guttman pioneered the use of sport in therapy. She took up archery and travelled to Italy a year later to win her two golds for Great Britain, the second in 50m backstroke.

She missed the 1964 tournament and was fourth and fifth in two archery events in 1968, but was back among the medals in 1972 with dartchery gold in Heidelberg, she took two silver medals in Toronto in 1976 and silver and gold four years later in Arnheim. She later returned to Stoke Mandeville to coach at the club.

Nick Webborn, chair of the British Paralympic Association, said: “Although her passing is extremely sad the fact that she lived until the age of 91 is testament to the work of Sir Ludwig Guttman who transformed the care of people with spinal cord injury, and that through sport people with disabilities can enjoy rich and fulfilling lives.”

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