HEREFORDSHIRE Sport’s annual awards presentation brought memories flooding back of Britain’s great summer of sport in 2012.
And the occasion provided the perfect platform for county sportspeople to pay tribute to Herefordshire’s four Paralympic medallists.
Josie Pearson, Nyree Kindred, Sascha Kindred and James Bevis received a standing ovation as they each received a special memento to mark their achievement from principal guest Stafford Murray.
Herefordshire Sport chairman Tony Larkin, who also had a key role at London 2012 as the manager of the GB Blind Football team - a position in which he has now surprisingly been replaced - recalled the impact made by the Olympics and Paralympics.
“The whole thing just blew us away,” he said.
“The hairs on the back our necks stood up just going into the opening ceremony. It was magical.”
Larkin added: “On the buses for the parade through the streets of London, there were Olympians and Paralympians.”
“Barriers were broken down - people didn’t see disability anymore, they didn’t see medals they just saw life stories and the efforts that the athletes had made to get where they are.
“Now the challenge is to continue the legacy.”
Herefordshire Sport secretary Bryan White, who announced the annual awards and was an Olympic torchbearer, added: “We were thrilled by the Olympics and staggered by the Paralympics.”
Murray, the former British Juniors squash champion and now the head of performance analysis and biomechanics at the English Institute of Sport, picked out four key groups for tribute in his address, firstly coaches.
“They don’t get the thanks they deserve,” said Murray, who won the county’s junior sports personality award in 1992.
“They put in endless hours in what is sometimes a thankless task.
“Then there are the junior athletes, who are our future - sport is now a viable career for them.
“Then there are the volunteers. I have been involved with four Commonwealth Games and three Olympics and volunteers are what makes Britain great.
“And finally there are the athletes. What an inspiration you are — thank you for making us all feel proud.”