Sir Steve carries Olympic Torch through Henley

Five time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave carried the Olympic Torch along the River Thames as day 53 of the 8000-mile relay passed through Henley on Thames this morning.

Sir Steve was joined in an eight by six juniors from the town’s three rowing clubs – Leander, Upper Thames, and Henley – and coxed by Olympic gold medallist Garry Herbert, rowing from the River & Rowing Museum down through Henley Bridge to Leander RC.

Past Leander Olympians – including 1948 silver medallist Michael Lapage – were waiting to greet the crew at the club’s pontoon with a special guard of honour.

After taking time to have his photo taken with almost all of the well-wishers gathering to see him, Sir Steve said how much it meant to carry the Olympic Torch.

“I’ve been involved for nearly 12 years in the bid, and to see the Olympics only days away is very special,” he said.

“The people from LOCOG say that this has been the best leg so far. It’s been a bit different having it on the water. It’s been tremendous. People here are going to remember this day for a very long time.”

Garry Herbert added, “It’s been an incredible morning. You can’t even dream about the turnout from the club here at Leander and going along the Thames on both sides – hundreds and thousands of people – it’s brilliant!

“We collected the Flame and Steve left the landing stage at Leander with us, we went down to the Museum, and then we just paddled back up.

“It was great, more for the youngsters in the crew – they just couldn’t believe it and were doubly excited to have Sir Steve and the Olympic Flame in the same boat.”

The juniors included Maddy Wynn-Jones from Henley Rowing Club, a member of the champion Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls crew at Henley Royal two weeks ago.

Picked because she usually sits on bow side, Maddy said, “Henley (Royal) was more nerve wracking. I enjoyed this – it was just a gentle paddle: you didn’t have to kill yourself!

“The security guard hadn’t rowed in his life before so Sir Steve was coaching him. And I could definitely feel the power pushing through even though he was holding the Torch!”

Also represented in the crew were Oli Collinson (Leander), Johnny Jackson (Upper Thames), Brendan Edwards (Leander), James Mills (Henley) and Natasha Harris White (Upper Thames).

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