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Gold bench unveiled in Totton to honour Paralympian Aaron Phipps MBE



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A GOLD bench has been unveiled in Totton to honour Paralympian Aaron Phipps’ achievement in Tokyo last year.

As reported in the A&T, Aaron (39) and his teammates etched their names into the history books by storming to the top of the podium last year with a victory over the USA in a final watched by more than 1-million UK viewers.

Aaron was joined by members of the town council at the unveiling (photo: Mark Perry)
Aaron was joined by members of the town council at the unveiling (photo: Mark Perry)

The performance delivered Team GB’s first gold in a team sport in the Paralympics and the first for any European nation in wheelchair rugby.

Last year Aaron was also recognised by being made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.

Cllr David Hills, a member of Totton and Eling Town Council, came up with the idea of marking his achievements with a gold bench in the town.

An unveiling ceremony on Tuesday was attended by Aaron, his family, town councillors and members of the public.

The bench in Library Road features the Paralympic logo along with a dedication plaque and his name.

Cllr Hills told the A&T: “Ever since Aaron’s victory in Tokyo, I thought the people of Totton would like some way of commemorating the win and saying thank you to our local hero.

“I did a bit of digging and soon discovered the Royal Mail no longer allowed gold post boxes as they were reserved for 2012 winners only.

Aaron has been honoured with a gold bench in his hometown (photo: Mark Perry)
Aaron has been honoured with a gold bench in his hometown (photo: Mark Perry)

“I then started thinking about what we could do instead and it quickly became apparent that a gold bench was an obvious choice.

“Not only are they owned by the council – meaning we can have any colour we want – but by including provision for wheelchair users we could make it inclusive.”

He added: “Not only is this bench a lasting celebration of Aaron’s amazing achievements, it’s also a reminder that we should never give up in the face of adversity.

“It’s also a place where disabled and able bodies can sit and chat, so I hope it brings people closer together.”

In April a play park in Calmore was officially renamed by the town council in his honour. It has inclusive equipment and is next to the infant and junior schools Aaron attended as a youngster

The sportsman lost his legs aged 15 after contracting meningitis C and meningococcal septicaemia.



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