Marlow hosts celebration for Olympic and Paralympic athletes

Grace Witherden

Crowds flocked to Higginson Park in Marlow to celebrate the achievements of the area's Olympians and Paralympians on Sunday.

Fans got the chance to hear from the athletes, get autographs and take selfies at the event, hosted by Wycombe District Council.

Olympians included rowers Helen Glover and Katherine Grainger and shooter Amber Hill.

Paralympians included para-canoeist Jeanette Chippington, para-cyclist Katie-George Dunlevy, wheelchair basketball player Clare Griffiths and Naomi Riches, who recently took part in the Great Thames Row.

When interviewed, Helen Glover told the crowd about her recent medal mishap, which saw her gold medal taken to a Bourne End jewellers after her husband Steve Backshall dropped it.

She said: “It gets dropped all the time, it just happens that it's a more interesting story when dropped by Steve.”

A formal reception was then held in the Court Garden, hosted by Cllr Mahboob Hussain, chairman of Wycombe District Council.

Amber Hill, who studied at Claires Court, said: “There was such a great atmosphere in Rio, it was great to be a part of Team GB.

“I’ll be doing lots more training now, entering competitions and doing all I can to prepare for Tokyo.”

Katherine Grainger, who is based at Marlow Rowing Club and won gold in London, said: “The London Olympics really took it to the next level and it was a reaction we were not expecting but people really took it to their hearts.”

She also thanked the community for their support and encouragement.

Cllr Mahboob Hussain gave a toast to the athletes, thanking them for making him ‘stay up late, shout at the TV and be late for work the next day’.

“They make me proud to be British and put Wycombe District Council on the map,” he added.

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