HE IS one of the most successful Olympic sailors ever.
But when Iain Percy just missed out on the gold medal in Sunday’s star race in Weymouth he was, understandably, devastated.
No doubt the pain was compounded when the Royal Mail began painting postboxes around the country gold in honour of Olympic champions from each area.
So now Peter Mahoney, landlord of The Lord Raglan pub, in Queen Street, Emsworth, along with his father David, has given the town’s main postbox a silver makeover in honour of Percy.
Iain, who used to live in Emsworth, is a member of nearby Hayling Island Sailing Club and has many friends and supporters in the town.
Peter said: ‘Everyone in Emsworth has got behind Iain. Really he should have won gold and we know he was bitterly disappointed when he got silver.
‘We thought it was still an amazing achievement and he deserved a silver post box in his honour. My dad and I wrapped the one in The Square in silver foil and put a Union flag on it and people started writing on it. Even the local police have written messages of congratulations to Iain.
‘The postman has been opening it really carefully so he doesn’t spoil it.’
David Mahoney, 61, who also works at the pub, was joined by dozens of regulars to watch Iain’s two-handed star race with Andrew Simpson
Peter, 34, said: ‘Watching Iain you could see he was so gutted and sorry, it was really sad to see.
‘We wanted to do something to show that he is very much appreciated.
‘When the gold medal winners started getting their post boxes painted in honour of their medals we thought we should do the same for him. People have been going up and taking pictures and writing messages. I hope Iain is pleased with it.’
Iain, 36, competed in the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney, where he won a gold medal in the Finn class.
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing he again won a gold medal, this time in the star class, teaming up with Andrew Simpson.
He said: ‘I’d heard about it but didn’t know who had done it. I think it’s really sweet of them.’