Official Team England partner npower and swimming legend Mark Foster arranged a surprise party in Jack Laugher’s home town of Ripon for his family and local residents earlier today, to coincide with his final diving event of the Commonwealth Games – The Men’s Synchronised 3m Springboard Final.
Residents of Ripon, North Yorkshire, turned out in force to gather around TV screens at the Ripon Spa Hotel and cheer Jack on as he competed in his final event, having already won Gold in both the Men’s 1m Springboard and 3m Springboard Finals. The party was thrown in recognition of the legacy the Laughers have created in Ripon and to thank the local community for the power of support they have shown for Jack and his team mates during the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
After Jack’s hat trick, parents David and Jackie Laugher, were surprised at their home by former world champion Mark Foster who escorted them to the party. They were then welcomed as Guests of Honour by the Mayor of Ripon, Cllr Pauline McHardy.
The Laughers were joined by former swimming teacher Sylvia Grice MBE, who set Jack on his way to gold medal success by teaching him to swim as a three-year-old. Jack’s friends and family, teachers and students from his former school and members of the local diving club and Ripon City Netball Club, including their Head Coach and Jack’s former PE teacher Helen Mackenzie, formed the crowd who turned out to support the diver.
The Mayor of Ripon and Mark Foster presented the Laughers with their own medals in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the area, the support they have given their son and the significant role he has played in inspiring the next generation of sports stars in the region. As the medals were presented, the crowd sang along to Jazmin Sawyers and Tokio Myers’ recently recorded version of Jerusalem – the Official Anthem of Team England.
Jackie Laugher said:
Although we would have loved to have been in Australia with Jack, it has been fantastic to see the power of support among our local community and to celebrate Jack’s achievements with everyone here at home.
This will mean so much to Jack when he sees how everyone has been huddled around the TV supporting him.
We are all extremely proud of our roots here in Yorkshire and Jack is incredibly thankful for the backing he has received from everyone throughout his career.
There is a fantastic community spirit here where everyone supports each other and today has been another example of that.
Thank you npower and everyone who attended to create such a special moment for us to treasure.
Mark Foster also appreciated how much the turnout would mean to the Commonwealth Gold Medallist, saying:
It is the pinnacle of any athlete’s career to represent their country. Accompanying the huge honour is a sense of responsibility. You want to do well for your family, your friends and everyone who has supported you and helped you reach this point in your career.
I think Jack will be thrilled when he sees how everyone has rallied around to support the Laugher family and how proud he has made everyone in his home town. During their partnership with Team England, npower have been shining the spotlight on the power of support behind each athlete, so it is wonderful to see the community in Yorkshire coming together to support Jack and his family once again.