Paralympian opens new factory

Paralympic silver medallist Karen Darke is today opening the new £1.5m Gowrings Mobility factory in Thatcham.

Gowrings Mobility has 50 years experience of permanently and extensively converting vehicles for wheelchair users. Travelling as a passenger, a wheelchair user can remain seated in their wheelchair, letting them travel comfortably to their chosen destination. Through these conversions, Gowrings have helped thousands of disabled people play an active role in their communities, getting out and about to where they want to go through their converted vehicles, and the new Thatcham factory is set to help even more.

No stranger to physical difficulties, Karen Darke is the perfect person to promote the new factory opening. Janet Seward, Gowrings Mobility’s Director of Sales and Marketing said: “We are delighted to be working with such a remarkable woman. Our customers are extraordinary people and our relationship with Karen, who is such an extraordinary athlete and adventurer, will excite and inspire our customers. ”

Hand cyclist Karen severed her spinal cord after a fall from a cliff in a climbing expedition in Scotland in 1992 and was left paralysed from the chest down. Since her accident, Karen has had to challenge her own physical and mental barriers. She said: “I strongly believe personal mobility is really important so to be working with Gowrings Mobility is a great honour. My first role will be to open their new factory, and I’m looking forward to seeing what goes into the manufacture of these specially converted cars and to meet the people involved in making them.  I am especially looking forward to meeting some customers and hearing how their vehicles have improved their lives. It’s also going to be good to see an example of one of the early models produced, a Mini Clubman from the 1970s.”

The new factory guarantees a permanent home for the company and secures approximately 100 jobs, aiming to provide greater capacity for production of these specially-converted vehicles.

For more information about Gowrings Mobility, head to

Accessibility Tools