oaksey villagers turn out for pub bash to celebrate rider’s Olympic triumph

This Is Wiltshire: Olympian Laura Bechtolsheimer is welcomed home to her local after her equestrian team won gold in a first for Great Britain; she also won a bronze on her own Olympian Laura Bechtolsheimer is welcomed home to her local after her equestrian team won gold in a first for Great Britain; she also won a bronze on her own

Crowds turned out to welcome home Olympic medallist Laura Bechtolsheimer to Oaksey and celebrate her team’s equestrian gold.

About 100 villagers young and old joined in the jubilations at The Wheatsheaf pub.

Miss Bechtolsheimer, who lives in the village, met adoring fans keen to congratulate the star on her gold and bronze medals and to buy her a well-earned pint.

The event was organised by landlord Tony Robson, who wanted to do something special to recognise the achievements of their local athlete.

“It was fantastic,” Mr Robson said.

“The day Laura won the dressage I popped a note of congratulations through her letter box and asked if she would like to come to the pub to celebrate.

“She called back and left a message on the Monday to say she was free on the Wednesday, but even in that short space of time we managed to get more than 100 people here.

“It’s fantastic for the village and especially for the children. She is so inspiring.

“Laura was a really genuine, lovely person. “It was fantastic to see her medals. They are a lot heavier than you would imagine.”

Miss Bechtolsheimer, whose stable is in Ampney St Peter, Gloucestershire, won a historic team gold in the Olympics Dressage along with team-mates Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester.

It was Britain’s first-ever medal of any colour since the discipline, which tests the understanding between horse and rider as they complete a series of manoeuvres, became an Olympic sport 100 years ago.

Miss Bechtolsheimer also went on to pick up a bronze in the Grand Freestyle Dressage Event.

“What she achieved was magnificent and I wanted to say thanks,” said Mr Robson.

“The scenes were incredible, you could not see Laura through all the children and people. It shows how much the Olympics mean to everyone and how they are inspiring our young.”

In honour of the German-born athlete’s success, Royal Mail painted a postbox gold in Ampney St Peter, where her family are living, and the trio were included on a commemorative stamp.

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