Pupils in North Devon spend a day with Olympic Gold Medallists

Searle brothers

Two Olympic gold medallists were in North Devon last weekend to help the new Kingsley School in Bideford celebrate their open day following the recent amalgamation of the Grenville and Edgehill Colleges in the town.

Brothers Jonny and Greg Searle were invited to spend a couple of hours on the River Torridge encouraging nearly 30 of the pupils to take to the water – a rare opportunity to row with such top quality oarsmen.  The session finished with a race involving two crews, with the girls and Greg coming out clear winners ahead of the boys and Jonny.

Rowing Coach Tina Robertson was delighted with the turnout and also the attention provided by the two rowers to all the youngsters at the school and was equally delighted with the sunny conditions and the ideal water on the river that made the day so enjoyable.  Following their extended time on the water they then gave a demonstration on the indoor rowing machines in the Bideford Blues clubhouse and then delivered an inspirational talk to all the juniors involved with the rowing at the school.

Jonny and Greg rowed together in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona where the two won the gold medal in the coxed pairs event along with their cox Garry Herbert. The two also won a gold medal at the 1993 World Championships and then picked up a bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  Jonny was also a member of the Oxford crew in the 1988,89 and 1990 University Boat Race where he triumphed in all three races, whilst Greg turned to yachting after racing with Cornishman Ed Coode in the 2000 Sydney games and where he became a member of the British Team in the 2002 America’s Cup.   

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