Young Clapton rowers meet Olympic heroes past and present

A rowing hero who won silver during London’s last Olympics in 1948 came to Hackney to meet the sport’s current leading contender, who’s hoping to win gold at this year’s Games.

Ernest Bircher, known as Paul, competed in the eights team in the capital 64 years ago, and visited Hackney rowers and Team GB’s lightweight double sculls competitor, Mark Hunter, yesterday (Thursday).

The 83-year-old took his medal with him when he visited the Lea Rowing Club, in Spring Hill, Clapton, while Mr Hunter showed off the gold he won at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The Hackney rowing team, who are based at the club on the River Lea, are facing their own challenge this summer – the youngsters are set to take part in the Thames Water London Youth Games Regatta on 9 June.