DBF History


A potted history of the DBF’s support of amputees and people with limb difference and other disabilities since its inception in 1982. More detailed information can be found on the Website.



The DOUGLAS BADER FOUNDATION (DBF) was created and formed following the death on the 4th September of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader, CBE, DSO, DFC, FRAeS, DL

Patron Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

        1986 First Golf Fundraising Events held
        1986 Bader Cup established by John Southwick as an annual fundraising Golf Event held throughout the UK eventually involving over 600 golf clubs
        1988 Incorporation of DBF – Sir Peter Baxendell (Deputy Chairman of Shell) became Chairman of Fundraising
  DBF moved to offices in the Shell Centre
        1989 The first Bader Flame” Award presented for Outstanding Contribution to the Amputee Disabled Community
        1991 HRH Diana, Princess of Wales becomes Patron of the Foundation
        1992 The Douglas Bader Centre built at Queen Mary’s University Hospital, Roehampton, London
        1993 The Douglas Bader Centre officially opened by Diana, Princess of Wales
        1994 David Bickers elected Chairman of the Foundation
        1995 The Douglas Bader Grant Scheme initiated
        1996 First Bader Grants announced and presented at the Shell Centre

(* Bader Grants subsequently awarded every year)

        1998 Baderline – a new telephone helpline for amputees launched in the West of England
  Bader Grants presented in honour of Diana, Princess of Wales
        1999 Bader Grants presented by Queen Noor of Jordan at the Bader Centre Roehampton
         2000 First Bader Challenge fundraising event – Cycle Ride through Jordan involving amputees and the able-bodied
         2001 Sponsorship of first CHAMPS (Child Amputee) weekend organised by BALASA
  Ladies Salver Golf Tournament introduced by John Southwick
        2002 Lady Bader receives OBE for her charity work
  The Douglas Bader Foundation fund the National Help Bureau, a joint initiative between the Foundation and The Limbless Association
        2003 First Prosthetic and Orthotic User and Professionals Industry Awards Ceremony in association with The Limbless Association
  Opening of first overseas Bader Walking School within University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur
        2004 Launch of the Limb Loss Legal Panel offering free legal advice to amputees
        2005 Launch of Limb Loss Information Centre (LLIC) providing advice and information to people with limb loss
  First Farrow Bader Flying Day for children with disabilities
  Launch of the Douglas Bader Insurance Advice Servic
  Launch of the inclusive Bader Challenges designed to encourage disabled people to participate in life changing challenges
        2006 New Queen Mary’s Hospital rehabilitation facility called “The Douglas Bader Rehabilitation Centre” in memory of Sir Douglas Bader and the work of the Foundation
  Launch of the Douglas Bader Insurance Advice Service
  The Douglas Bader Grant Scheme pledges support to the amputee victims of the July 7th London Bombings
        2007 25th Anniversary of the Douglas Bader Foundation
  25th Anniversary Auction Dinner in The Long Room at Lord’s
        2008 Inaugural Amputee Games

(* DBF to continue support of Amputee Games every year)

        2010 Douglas Bader Centenary
  Launch of Douglas Bader Foundation child-based initiative: Bader Braves
  Douglas Bader Grant to RAFT
  Bader Braves Young Aviators initiative 5 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days held around UK

(* A programme of Bader Braves Young Aviators Days continues to be held annually across the UK)

  3 DBF Ambassadors announced: Phil Packer, David Gardner and Adam Layer
  LimbLine – New amputee led one-to-one advice and chat service for LLIC
        2011 9 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days held around the UK
  2 DBF Ambassadors announced: Margaret Biggs and Wyn Jenkins
        2012 30th Anniversary of the death of Sir Douglas Bader
  12 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days
  Bader Grants awarded to honour 30th Anniversary
        2013 30th Anniversary year of Douglas Bader Foundation
  Bader Braves Challenge Weekend at Calvert Trust Exmoor
  12 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days scheduled around the UK
  DBF Ambassador announced: Nathan Doidge
  DBF Ambassador announced: Martine Wright
  New LLIC Forum initiated
  Team Bader conceived
  Ambassador, Margaret Biggs, designs bespoke kit for Team Bader (Cycling)
  Ambassadors, Wyn Jenkins and Margaret Biggs, launch Team Bader (Cycling) with Tandem Challenge Wales
  1st DB Trophy Golf Challenge celebrates 30 years
  John Southwick retires after 26 years of running the Bader Cup with £1000s raised for DBF
        2014 12 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days scheduled across the UK
  Bader Braves Winter Wonderland Weekend at Calvert Trust Kielder
  Bader Braves Peter Saywell Track Day
  DBF Canal Trip for Roehampton Limb User Group (RLUG) with The Bruce Trust
  Team Bader (Cycling) participates in Time Trials across UK.

Team Bader Amputees registered with Road Time Trial Council as official Para-Cycling Team

Margaret Biggs honoured for achievements with reinstated “Bader Flame” Award

  DBF Website upgraded and under new management
  BILL (Bader Info on Limb Loss) succeeds LLIC
        2015 10 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days scheduled across the UK
  2 Bader Braves Adventure Weekends at Calvert Trust Exmoor and Calvert Trust Kielder
  Team Bader (Cycling) Ambassador, Margaret Biggs honoured for Time Trials Achievements at Champions Night Dinner at Heythrop Park, Oxford
  Sir Douglas Bader features in new escape book and film about his escape from Warburg in the pipeline
  DBF Ambassador announced: Gautam Lewis (Freedom in the Air)
  Launch of DBF Reach for the Sky Campaign
  DBF Ambassador Announced: Gemma Trotter
  Evening of Inspiration at RAF Club to announce “Bader’s Bus Company – Still Running” initiative
  Reinstation of “Inspiration” Newsletter – “Inspiration2” E-newsletter
  Death of Joan, Lady Bader 17/3/1918-18/12/2015
        2016 Lady Bader Memorial Grants and Special Awards initiative
  9 Bader Braves Young Aviators Days scheduled across the UK
  Bader Braves Go-Karting Stockwell
  Joan Bader Thanksgiving lunch
  Bader’s Big Band” announced launching Team Bader (Music)
  DBF Ambassador announced: Paul McNeive
  Team Bader (Cycling) 1st DamBusters Cycle Ride organised by Ambassador, Wyn Jenkins
  2nd Canal Boat Cruise for Roehampton Limb User Group (RLUG) with Waterways Experiences
  New feature, Bader Grant Recipient of the Month, kicks off with Lady Bader Grant Recipient, Mari Akhurst, Para Dressage Rider

(* New Bader or Lady Bader Grant Recipient to be announced every few weeks)

        2017 10 Bader Braves Young Aviators scheduled across the UK
  Bader Braves Go-Karting Day at Stockwell
  First Bader Braves Sailing Day
  Additional Bader Braves events to be announced
  2nd DamBusters Cycle Ride organised by Ambassador, Wyn Jenkins
      … To be continued….Watch this space…..!



The First Initiative (1993)

The first initiative was realised in 1993 – the completion of the Douglas Bader Centre, a facility built at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, in West London to support rehabilitation services for amputees.

Following changes at Queen Mary’s Hospital, the Centre is now called The Douglas Bader Rehabilitation Centre and provides a range of facilities and services for amputee members of the community, including a Walking School and Rehab Therapy Groups. Appropriately, this hospital had provided Douglas’s medical care as an amputee for some 50 years. The Centre was opened by the Foundation’s Patron, Diana, Princess of Wales, on February 25th 1993.

The Douglas Bader Grant Scheme (1995)

This initiative provides practical support for the pursuance of achievements by those with disabilities. The scheme has assisted countless disabled individuals and groups throughout the UK to achieve a variety of goals in diverse areas ranging from education, the arts, sport and recreation to small businesses.

We look at all applications and, depending on the nature of the request, the Foundation may help towards or provide the equipment, training, services, further education or other practical support required by the successful applicant.

The Lady Bader Memorial Grant and Special Awards Scheme was created following the death of Lady Bader in December 2015 to be awarded to individuals whose goals reflect Lady Bader’s interests and achievements in her own lifetime.

Grants will continue to be provided to be provided each year while funds allow.

The Limb Loss Information Centre (LLIC) (2005)

2005 saw the creation of  the Limb Loss Information Centre, a central resource information website for amputees, their families and friends, carers and healthcare professionals.

The changing needs and circumstances of participating charities meant that LLIC became impractical and it was replaced by BILL (Bader Info on Limb Loss) in 2014.

Bader Braves (2010)

2010 saw the launch of this exciting new initiative by the Douglas Bader Foundation. Bader Braves was created as a joint acknowledgement of Sir Douglas Bader’s Honourary Chieftainship of a Canadian Indian Tribe and the bravery of children with limb deficiencies and other disabilities in their efforts to lead normal lives.

It is a tremendous honour, limited to just 40 living people, to be awarded a Chieftainship and one of which Sir Douglas was extremely and justifiably proud.

At the inception of Bader Braves there were very few initiatives aimed specifically at helping children and their families coping with limb deficiency and other disabilities. 

Bader Braves was founded with Douglas Bader’s indomitable spirit and the courage of the Kainai Indians in mind and the Young Aviators Days and Events we offer are intended to be inspirational and encouraging in nature.

  • Bader Braves will support children with limb loss and other physical disabilities by offering unique experiences and improving life-skills to increase confidence. The Douglas Bader Foundation has always acknowledged the importance of the children’s families and carers and, in supporting the children, also aims to benefit those people involved in their lives.
  • Bader Braves will incorporate The Douglas Bader Foundation’s Young Aviators Days providing youngsters from 6-16 with limb deficiency and other disabilities with the opportunity of experiencing flight in a light aircraft.

Team Bader (2013)

The benefits of sport and fitness physically, psychologically and socially are well known for amputees and others with a disability. Team Bader was launched in 2013 as a way of encouraging amputees and others to participate in sport or activities with the full support of the DBF. It doesn’t matter what level of experience, you will receive a warm welcome and plenty of advice and support whether new to a sport, rejoining a known sport or already taking part.

  • Team Bader has participated in several events including the London Triathlon
  • Team Bader (Cycling) took off in 2013 under the auspices of Cycling Ambassadors, Wyn Jenkins and Margaret “Maggz” Biggs and has participated in and created several cycling Time Trials and events. Team Bader Amputees is now registered with the Road Time Trial Council as official Para-Cycling Team. Bespoke Team Bader Kit designed by Maggz will be provided for cyclists participating in Team Bader events.
  • Team Bader (Music) followed in 2016 with the announcement of the “Bader’s Big Band” initiative. As with Team Bader (Cycling), there are considerable benefits to amputees and those with other disabilities when taking part in a group activity and music has many know benefits.
  • Team Bader aims to encourage people with disabilities to participate in activities and, to paraphrase Sir Douglas, to believe that they can, not that they can’t.

Retirement of John Southwick (2013)

We were very sad to say goodbye to John Southwick, who initiated Bader Golf and then ran The Bader Cup and The Ladies Salver. The Bader Cup became recognised as the biggest mixed tournament raising considerable funds for the DBF in the process over its 26 years. We are grateful beyond words to John for his loyalty and support over so many years and will miss both him and the tournament. We wish him an enjoyable and well-earned retirement.

BILL (Bader Info on Limb Loss) (2014)

Incorporated into DBF in 2014 as an alternative information source to the earlier Limb Loss Information Centre. BILL is a work in progress at the moment but we intend for it to become a practical and factual site, incorporating information from other charities and sources via the simplest and most direct connections. We are always keen to receive content for BILL and encourage our supporters to contact us if they feel there is something of relevance to amputees and people with other disabilities that should be included in the pages.

 “Bader’s Bus Company Still Running” (2015)

This exciting and ambitious project, which will run  in association with Aerobility, will assist people with disabilities to fly in a light aircraft and then go beyond to create the first disabled aerobatic display team. Pilot interviews are underway and it is anticipated that the initiative will attract considerable media interest.

Lady Bader Memorial Grants and Special Awards (2016)

The Lady Bader Memorial Grant & Special Awards Scheme was created following the death of Lady Bader in December 2015, to be awarded to individuals whose goals reflect Lady Bader’s own lifetime interests and achievements.

Bader’s Big Band” (2016)

Another exciting initiative, which falls under the Team Bader banner, is the DBF’s bid to create the first ever Big Band made up entirely of musicians with disabilities reflecting the “can do” spirit of Sir Douglas. Support has been pledged by people in the music world with a range of experience including Big Band Conductor, Arranger, Musicians, Legal, Disabled Charities, Music Organisations and charities involved specifically with disabled musicians. Auditioning has already started and, again, we anticipate that, especially with the current media interest in choirs and music, this will be a popular if challenging project.


Sadly, while the original LLIC Forum was very successful and supplied advice, information and contact to many amputees and others, technology moved on at we have been forced to give up on trying to tweak it to make it work which was becoming increasingly frustrating to people trying to use it. We have been investigating possible alternatives and will be launching a new and more user-friendly Forum shortly. 


  • The DBF continues to supply grants successful applicants and run and increasing range of events for our Bader Braves.
  • We are proud to have 10 Ambassadors now supporting the charity.
  • LimbLine offers a one-to-one chat and advice service with an amputee. (We are always happy to put people in contact with amputee Ambassadors or others where this would be helpful, particularly in the current absence of a working Forum.)
  • We have reinstated the old “Inspiration” Newsletter as an e-Newsletter appropriately called “Inspiration 2“. This will be sent monthly on average. Bulletins will also be sent when there is something of interest to report.

Moving Forward

We see the future involving more interaction with like-minded charities, enabling a sharing of resources and a broader knowledge base to benefit those we are supporting more effectively.

We are always striving to move forward and create new initiatives that reflect Sir Douglas’s positive and determined approach to life.

As always, please keep checking in to see what we’re up to and to be kept up to date with progress.

A pdf of the Timeline can be downloaded and printed if required by following the link. The page will open in a new tab.