Celebrating the tree-mendous performance of our Rio 2016 stars

I was honoured to be able to join in the ceremony to honour Worcestershire’s Rio Olympic and Paralympic medallists at Evesham Rowing Club last Friday (28 October) 2016.

Alex Gregory MBE, Becky Redfern, Claire Cashmore, Lauren Rowles and Haj Bhania, head coach of the GB Men’s wheelchair basketball team, were all presented with a Worcestershire Black Pear Tree, grown by Pershore College and sponsored by Worcestershire County Council.

Becky, her mum, me and Sharon Bell, Group Principal of Pershore College.

Becky, her mum, me and Sharon Bell, Group Principal of Pershore College.

Alex Gregory, (rowing gold) trained at Evesham Rowing Club, while Becky Redfern (a 16 year old Paralympian), who lives in Droitwich and trains at Worcester Swimming Pool won silver in the 100 metre breast stroke in the S13 class (visually impaired).

It was only in January this year that Becky was told she would be representing her country in Rio – her goal had been Tokyo in four years time. Claire Cashmore, born in Redditch but who grew up in the Wyre Forest area, won gold in the 4 x 100 swimming relay and silver in the SB8 class for 100m breast stroke.

Lauren Rowles, from Bromsgrove, won Paralympic rowing gold while Team GB’s wheelchair basketball team, which trained in Worcester, won bronze.

Olympians and Paralympians with their Black Pear trees

Olympians and Paralympians with their Black Pear trees

Rather than mark the achievement with a blue plaque or a gold painted post box, Worcestershire County Council decided to recognise the achievements of the group by making them the first ever people to be presented with their very own Worcestershire Black Pear Tree.

The Black Pear appears on the county’s flag. It can be seen in the Council Chamber at County Hall and it’s proudly worn by the county’s professional cricketers.

Me swopping “medals” with Alex Gregory (just for the picture, of course)

Me swopping “medals” with Alex Gregory (just for the picture, of course)

It was a real pleasure to meet these fantastic people, to hear their stories and to be present when they received their Black Pear Trees.

On Saturday, 29 October we paid a visit to the Norbury Theatre, Droitwich for an evening of swing band music and song with The Crown Phoenix Big Band in aid of the Mayor Droitwich’s charities.

The show was compered by Peter Tomlinson (who is a Wychavon councillor and formerly of TISWAS fame).  A foot-tapping success with music from the great American writers and songs sung by Julie who sang many of the American favourites.  Peter Tomlinson kept the audience enthralled with snippets of information about the famous song writers throughout the evening.

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