September 24th, 2016

Tears of joy in Redditch as Olympic diver wins the gold

Updated: 4:08 pm, Aug 11, 2016

THERE were tears of joy in the streets of Redditch on Wednesday night when Jack Laugher, son of local man Dave Laugher, clinched gold in the synchronised three metre springboard at the Rio Olympics.

Jack’s aunt, Christine Butler and her husband Patrick said they’d stayed up until 3.30am on Thursday morning as they toasted the success of their nephew.

“As soon as he could swim Jack was diving,” said Chris, from Webheath.

“I’d been running around telling all the neighbours and my friends that my nephew was at the Olympics and not to miss Jack on the television I was so excited.

“Then when he and his partner Chris Mears won gold, oh, it was wonderful.

“People have been coming round, someone dropped off a bottle of Prosecco to help us celebrate, it has been absolutely marvellous.

“We’re going to have a great big party when they all get home.”

Jack’s dad Dave Laugher worked as a press photographer for the Redditch Advertiser when it was owned and run by Chris and Pat Bullivant, the same people who now run your Redditch Standard.

“I remember Dave very well, his pictures were always very popular and people always wanted copies of them which led to a long delay for his prints,” said Pat.

“We had a darkroom upstairs here in Webb House and he had a sign over his door saying ‘One day my prints will come’. He was a lovely man.”

The family lived at Astwood Bank, Dave grew up in Redditch and went to the Abbey High School (now Trinity).

He later moved to Ripon in North Yorkshire where Jack and his sister Katie were born, but while Jack’s mum and sister went out to Rio to cheer him on, Dave stayed at home with the dog and has been busy dealing with all the media attention.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful things” said Chris, “and he’s diving again on Monday, solo this time, and we’ll be cheering him on.”

The British diving pair scored a total of 454.32 to end China’s hopes of a clean sweep of diving golds at the Games and win Britain’s first ever diving gold medal.

It was a particularly emotional victory for Mears, from Reading, as he’d had life-saving surgery to remove a spleen ruptured while diving in 2009.

Jack’s gold medal isn’t Redditch’s only claim to Olympic fame as Team GB Rugby Sevens star Alice Richardson also grew up in Astwood Bank.