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West given a glittering finish by the golden girls

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

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The paint was scarcely dry on two freshly-coated post boxes dedicated to West golden girls when a third broke a world record to join Britain’s rank of Paralympic winners.

Josie Pearson, competing in her second games, struck gold in the F51 discus, setting a world record in the process.

It means Royal Mail staff will have to prise open the lid of their gold paint tins once more to honour the region’s golden girls.

Yesterday the post boxes in Trull, near Taunton in Somerset and at Weston on Portland in Dorset, were painted gold to celebrate dressage rider Deb Criddle and sailor Helena Lucas respectively.

Criddle, 46, claimed a team gold and two silvers in the freestyle dressage and individual event at London 2012.

Lucas won the 2.4mR class sailing on her home waters at the Weymouth and Portland sailing centre.

First class stamps with both their pictures are also being produced and will be on sale across the UK.

The final lick of paint on the two post boxes were applied by people at completely different ends of the age spectrum.

In Trull 106-year-old Ella Dacombe picked up a brush in the sunshine and some 40 miles to the south east on Portland the gloss work was applied by someone who it is fair to say is at his age a more regular painter.

Jamie Bird, four, is a whopping 102 years younger but the end result in both cases were sparkling tributes to the Paralympic stars.

The Royal Mail has yet to say which post box will be painted to honour Pearson’s stunning win, as she has links to both Bristol and Herefordshire.

Meanwhile David Cameron yesterday hailed the unprecedented interest in the Paralympics, which he described as one of the Games’ legacies.

The Prime Minister was meeting the Paralympic stars of the future as part of scheme to encourage youngsters to try out for Rio 2016.

He was promoting the Paralympic Inspiration Programme (PIP) at ParalympicsGB House, Stratford, to meet 80 promising youngsters selected for the programme.

The project introduces youngsters to life as a Paralympian by meeting the athletes, dining in the Olympic Village and dealing with the media.

He said: “These Paralympics have gone to a new level. I think this is an assured piece of legacy.

“When Rio (the host of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games) comes along, I think that interest will be much higher than it would have been before London 2012.

“The crowds have been incredible – they have certainly done us proud. Even for the heats, we are getting big crowds.”

Ali Oliver, PIP director, said those involved in the scheme were honoured for Mr Cameron to have taken the time to speak to them.

Among the highlights of today’sSAT action is teenage swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds bidding to defend her 100m freestyle title and cap a magnificent Games by claiming a third gold medal in the Aquatics Centre.

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