More recognition to come for Gavin Walker the Paralympic gold medallist

More recognition to come for Gavin Walker the Paralympic gold medallist

By Michael Upton | 07/01/2022

More recognition to come for Gavin Walker the Paralympic gold medallist

 

PARALYMPIC hero Gavin Walker who won gold in Tokyo last summer is in line for two more honours.

Gavin, of Dinnington, co-captained the GB side to glory in the wheelchair rugby competition, and the whole squad has been honoured with MBEs in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

And the honours continue to come for medalist Gavin as he is set to be awarded the Freedom of the Borough.

The nomination emerged yesterday and is set to be approved at next Wednesday’s full Rotherham Council meeting.

RMBC has the power to admit honorary freemen and women of Rotherham. It is the highest civic award the authority can bestow.

Gavin began playing wheelchair rugby after a freak accident in 2010, when he slipped on decking while working for the fire service and broke his neck.

He found he had a real talent for the sport, rising to co-captain of Team GB and winning Paralympic gold in Tokyo last year.

Of his route to royal recognition, Gavin said this week: “When I first tried the sport, I never really wanted to compete, never mind achieve what we have as a team.

“It was just to get fit and healthy again.

“It has gone a bit further than that and now we have ended up with an Olympic gold medal and MBEs.

“It’s something you don’t really ponder at all.”

Freedom of the Borough dates back to early medieval times, when freemen enjoyed important privileges, setting them apart from regular citizens.

Cllr Alan Atkin, who submitted the nomination, said: “Gavin has brought great prestige to this borough.

“He’s an inspiration to people who have been injured and, not only that, he was a hero before as a firefighter.

“We gave the sailor Paul Goodison the freedom of the borough when he won gold, so a precedent has been set.

“But the journey Gavin’s been on shows how worthy he is of being a freeman of Rotherham.”

The award was revived by the Honorary Freedom of the Boroughs Act 1885, allowing local authorities to use the title to celebrate those “rendering eminent services” to their city, town or borough.