Sherborne's London 2012 medal heroes in line for rare civic honour
Sherborne's Olympic heroes are to be commended for their athletic achievements with a rare honour awarded by the town council.
Olympic medal-winning shooter Peter Wilson and sailor Andrew Simpson will be awarded with a Civic Honour.
Sherborne town councillors unanimously decided to offer the accolade in recognition of their sporting achievements.
To mark the occasion, Councillor Peter Rhodes, mayor of Sherborne, hopes to host a civic reception on a date to be confirmed in the Digby Hall, Hound Street.
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He said: “It is a pleasure for the town council to honour such outstanding achievement at the Olympic Games.
“I am sure that this can only inspire more young people to become involved in sport.”
Shooting star Wilson, 25, of Glanvilles Wootton, near Sherborne, fired his way into the history books, winning Team GB’s fourth gold medal of the London 2012 games during the Men’s Double Trap Shooting final.
Scoring an impressive 188 out of 200 in the final, Wilson became the newly-crowned king of British shooting in his debut Olympics.
He received a hero’s welcome to the county this month when more than 200 people gathered in his honour in Glanvilles Wootton.
Congratulatory signs also appeared in Sherborne, praising him for his success and the town’s main postbox was painted gold to mark his medal success.
During Mr Wilson’s homecoming to Dorset after winning the title, Mr Rhodes said: “It is a momentous occasion for Sherborne and the surrounding areas.
Meanwhile Sherborne-born Andrew Simpson, 35, claimed a silver medal in the Star Class sailing event held off the Dorset coast in Weymouth.
The town council’s Civic Honour will also acknowledge Simpson’s gold medal won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Trevor Savage, town clerk, said the accolade is rarely awarded.
He said: “We’ve only three records of this recognition at Sherborne Town Council, the first being awarded in 1994.”
Mr Savage said the first Civic Honour was granted in 1994 to the Devon and Dorset regiment, now known as The Rifles.
Four years later resident Gerald Pitman received the honour for his contributions to the Sherborne community.
In 2011 local folk legends The Yetties were awarded the Civic Honour for their contribution over more than 40 years to the music industry.
Mr Savage said typically those awarded a Civic Honour would receive a commemorative certificate.
They would also have their names inscribed on the honours board, situated in the council chamber, Manor House, Newland.