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Paralympian swim heroes welcomed by their ‘family’
Minster College students form a guard of honour for Nyree Lewis and Sascha Kindred. 084029-2 Pictures by DAVID GRIFFITHS.
LEOMINSTER’S swimming ‘family’ turned out in force to welcome back their favourite ‘son and daughter’ after their Paralympic success.
Sascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis returned from Beijing with four medals – two gold, a silver and a bronze – to show for their efforts.
And their friends from North Herefordshire were there to bathe in the reflected glory of the pair’s success at a special get-together to salute the duo’s achievements at Leominster Leisure Centre.
But the admiration, affection and gratitude was far from being all one way.
“We could not have done what we did without the support and effort from everyone at Halo and Leominster Leisure Centre,” said Kindred.
“We would really like to thank Jon Argent and everyone from Halo and Leominster Leisure Centre – they have helped us to achieve what we did in Beijing.
“We are very, very thankful to everyone who has supported us in Leominster, and Herefordshire, and made the last six weeks so memorable.”
“We have been delighted to help and are in awe of the dedication and commitment that you have both put in,” said Halo chief executive Jon Argent.
“The days, hours and weeks you have put in ploughing up and down the pool put the rest of us to shame.
“We are delighted at your success – you are part of the Halo family and we take great pride in your achievements.”
Neil Campbell, the chairman of Leominster Kingfishers Swimming Club, presented the pair with life membership of the club.
“As a devout Australian, it is difficult for me to pay homage to two people who have contributed to the humiliation of my country’s team,” he said, jokingly.
“But thank you so much for giving Leominster some champions.”
Bryan White, the secretary of Herefordshire Sport, also paid tribute.
“Sascha and Nyree are the consummate professionals in the way they prepared and in the way they represent their sport,” he said, pointing out the legacy that they were already leaving by the way that double-gold medallist Ellie Symonds had declared that Lewis was her inspiration in the sport.
To mark their gratitude for the help and support that they had received, Kindred and Lewis presented a Beijing fan, a Paralympic flag, a Paralympic pendant and a Beijing Paralympic medal to Halo and to Leominster Leisure Centre.