GOLDEN girl Katherine Grainger has been hailed a hero in her home town.
The 36 year old, who was brought up in Bearsden, took gold in the double scull rowing event at the London Olympics last week - to add to her haul of three silvers at previous games.
Katherine, a former Bearsden Academy pupil and her partner Anna Watkin crossed the line in six minutes 55.82secs leaving the Australian pair of Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley trailing.
Just after the race Katherine, who also attended Mosshead Primary, said: “It will sink in eventually I’m sure but I bet I still wake up and check the medal is still there.”
Her Olympic victory was keenly watched by the whole nation and many younger views have been inspired by her achievement, including the current British junior 15 doubles scull champion Kathleen Castell, also for Bearsden.
The Glasgow Rowing Club member (15) met Katherine in February at Strathclyde Park when she attended a high performance training camp.
Kathleen said: “I was on the edge of my seat watching her win gold, it was so exciting. When I met her in February she was really down to earth and a really friendly person. This was before she had been selected for the Olympics, although she was part of the GB rowing team.
“She is one of my heroes. Her and Anna Watkins. Katherine went to university when she was training and to do this takes so much determination.”
The young rower’s mum, Chris, who is secretary of Glasgow Rowing Club, said that since Katherine won gold the club have had a massive amount of interest from new members.
Chris said: “From the club’s point of few we have had a 10 fold increase in people wanting to start rowing. Normally we get one or two a week, but since Katherine won gold we have had at 20 adults an youngsters come along to the club. If they all join we are going to have to get more boats.”
East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson said: “What a stunning achievement to top off a wonderful career for Katherine Grainger, rowing into the history books with her partner Anna Watkins. After three silvers she’s finally brought home Olympic gold.
“It’s so well deserved for the most successful female athlete in British rowing history. Everyone here was rooting for this former Bearsden Academy girl – she’s done us proud.”
And echoing these sentiments East Dunbartonshire Provost Una Walker said: “On behalf of everyone at the council, I’d like to congratulate Katherine on her success. She is a wonderful ambassador for her school and East Dunbartonshire as well as being an excellent example of what can be achieved with hard work and determination.”
And she added that the council plan to honour her achievements with an event which yet to be decided.
However, Katherine WON’T be getting a post box painted gold in her honour in Bearsden.
Royal Mail have been painting collection points gold in honour of top medal winners - but Katherine’s will be in Aberdeen, where she moved to after leaving school.