A sporting legend acknowledged as Britain’s first ever Paralympic gold medal winner has died, aged 91.

Watford resident Margaret Maughan was paralysed from the waist down following a car accident in Malawi in 1959, but within a year had won gold in Rome after taking up archery as part of her rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where she was treated by pioneering neurologist Dr Ludwig Guttman.

Margaret was also to compete in swimming and took part in a total of five Paralympics, winning three golds and two silvers, and remained a strong advocate for the power of sport for disabled sport.

Her trailblazing status saw her invited to light the cauldron at the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Nick Webborn, chair of the British Parlaympic 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.

“Margaret, we thank you and salute you for all that you did, and although we will miss you tremendously, we will never forget you.”