Saturday, 11 October 2008

A Golden Day

Henley was decked out in all its finery today. Why? Because the Olympian medal winners were here. The day started for me with an early morning invitation to the River and Rowing Museum for breakfast. It was a misty morning, but with a promise of sunshine. Then the Olympians arrived, headed by Sir Matthew Pinsent.

After a short reception we all repaired to the water’s edge where the oarsmen and women launched their boats for a row-past and on up to Leander Club.

The mist cleared at that exact moment to reveal bright sunshine.
I had to dash off then to get a ‘flu jab. This didn’t take long, so I was able to get back to the Market Place in Henley to await the drive-past in an open-decked bus.

Preceded by a marching band and several smartly uniformed types, with the roads closed, the bus slowly meandered around the town.

It looked to me as if the entire population of Henley was there to cheer them on. The sun shone warm and bright. One hundred school children from the seven schools in the Henley area were invited to the Town Hall (which by this time was surrounded by scores of rowers with their blades held aloft), not only to meet the Olympians, but to each be given a miniature medal to hang around their necks. They also were able to collect as many autographs as they liked. High above in the perfect blue skies a small aircraft flew over the town dragging a banner behind it with the words ‘Henley Salutes the Olympians’ emblazoned upon it.
A truly lovely day.

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