INTERNATIONAL success in table tennis, bowls, javelin and swimming are just some of the ways that paralympian Gwen Buck BEM will be remembered.

Defying doctors' predictions that she would only live until her 40s following a road accident in which she broke her back, Gwen passed away on February 13 aged 75.

In 1943, as a bright 14-year-old with an ambition to dance, Gwen was knocked off her bike by a lorry as she cycled over a level crossing.

While the accident left her with a broken back and severed spine, it did not stifle her sense of adventure.

Born in Trinity Road, Richmond, in 1929, at the time of her accident Gwen lived with her parents and two brothers in Victoria Villas, Richmond.

A pupil at Holy Trinity School and then Gainsborough, Gwen spent nearly two years in St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, in a full body cast before moving to the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Injuries unit in 1946.

There under the guidance of Sir Ludvic Guattman affectionately called Popper by his patients her life was transformed as she learnt to become independent.

Gwen was encouraged to go to college in Worcester and after two years came home to Richmond a fully-trained drawing office tracer.

Working at the Ministry of Works in Horseferry Road, London, Gwen met her husband John, who also used a wheelchair user, whom she married in 1951 at St Matthias' Church, Richmond.

Her time at Stoke Mandeville also introduced Gwen to competitive sport. Her first love was table tennis and her brother, Ken Sawkins, remembers being beaten by her regularly.

Gwen was a regular participant in the Stoke Mandeville Games and from the early 1960s represented Britain in the Commonwealth and Paralympic games.

Her sporting success allowed her to travel the world and she regularly enjoyed cruises with John.

But it was not just taking part in sport which was important to Gwen, she was also keen to encourage participation among young people, visiting sports clubs, and even helping to design the Stoke Mandeville stadium.

Gwen's biggest achievement came in the early 1970s when she was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work within sport and sporting success. She was also named Sportswoman of the Year by the Sports Writers Guild.

After 25 years of marriage Gwen and John retired to Stoke Mandeville village to be near the new stadium. John died in 1981 just as their dream bungalow was being finished but Gwen carried on independently until her health began to decline.

She is survived by her brothers Ken and John Sawkins.