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Town post box painted gold to mark McKeever's Olympic glory
Bradford on Avon woke up to a golden post box this morning (Sunday) to honour the Olympic achievements of the town’s kayak king Ed McKeever who scooped top spot in the K1 200m at Eton Dorney yesterday.
Former St Laurence student McKeever, 28, dominated the kayak final yesterday taking gold with a winning time of 36.246 seconds adding the Olympic honour to his 2010 world and European titles.
Residents of the town, which has McKeever banners and bunting lining the streets, turned out in force to see Royal Mail staff paint the post box in The Shambles to honour Team GB’s 26th gold medal winner of the 2012 Games.
Throughout the Olympic Games the Royal Mail have been painting a red post box in the hometowns of British gold medal winners to honour them. This morning, McKeever’s father Derek travelled back from Eton Dorney to attend the impromptu ceremony in the town.
Mr McKeever, who proudly held giant stamps of his son which have been made to mark his Olympic victory, said: “We are all still buzzing from it and it has been a perfect day or two. When he crossed the line we were all just so relieved and proud for him as he’s worked so, so hard for this.
“He’s given everything to get the Olympic Games, he didn’t make Beijing four years ago as he had pneumonia, and for him to come back and win in front of a home crowd is just so special."
Mr Mckeever is the membership secretary of the Bradford on Avon Rowing and Canoeing Club which his son joined at the age of 12 and where he developed his love of the sport. Mr McKeever watched the race in Eton Dorney with his wife Janice, his son’s fiancée Anya and other close family who are all delighted with the kayaker’s achievements.
He said: “Seeing this gold post box is just amazing and every time we see it we’ll be reminded of the achievements of our little boy.” At the event in the Shambles, which took place at 10am, the local postman, Kim Burrows, who deliverers to the McKeever’s home in Farleigh Wick met Mr McKeever to pass on congratulations.
Mr Burrows said: “This is a wonderful thing for Bradford on Avon and to see so many people come out to celebrate is rather amazing. “I saw the McKeevers just before they left for Eton Dorney and I said to them I thought Ed would take gold. I’d just like to say well done to Ed and congratulations.”
The post box in the Shambles is expected to remain gold until at least the end of the year and stamps depicting McKeever’s win are on sale in Post Office branches in Trowbridge Road and Winsley Road as well as stores in Trowbridge and Bath.
Royal Mail spokesman Val Bodden said: “We’ve really enjoyed supporting our athletes during the games and giving something back to the communities of our sporting heroes. It is an honour to be here to see so many local people beaming with pride as the post box is painted gold.”
Mr McKeever said his son celebrated his gold medal win with friends and family last night and now the kayak king wants to focus on his wedding which is taking place in Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire, in September. Bradford on Avon Town Council will be meeting tomorrow to discuss plans to have a civic reception for McKeever.