Tue, 17 Jul 2018
OLYMPIC gold medallist diver Chris Mears returned to his former school last week to unveil a plaque recognising his achievements at Rio 2016.
Mears, who attended The Willink School, Burghfield Common, from 2004 to 2009, thanked those who helped him with his development and asked that current students continue to receive the “incredible support” that he had.
The athlete, who grew up in the village, but now lives and trains in Leeds, competed in the 3m synchronised event with Jack Laugher, and together they claimed Britain’s first Olympic gold medal for diving.
The pair also won silver in the same event at the Diving World Cup in China earlier this month.
The plaque, donated and produced by Burghfield Parish Council, was suggested by Penny Kent, one of Mears’ former teachers.
The event was attended by West Berkshire Council’s chairwoman Carol Jackson-Doerge (Con, Burghfield) and former district councillorRoyce Longton, along with teachers past and present, who spoke about Mears’ story.
Mears, who also claimed gold at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast earlier this year, spent time talking to pupils, telling them: “You don’t realise how good [school] is when you are here.”
The Willink’s headteacher Peter Fry said: “We were delighted that we were able to support Chris in the early years and have followed his successes representing England at the Commonwealth Games, European Championships and, of course, Olympic gold at the Rio Games in 2016.”