Record-breaking skipper awarded council top honour

AWARD Record-breaker Alex Thomson is to be honoured by council
AWARD Record-breaker Alex Thomson is to be honoured by council
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ROUND-the-world racing hero Alex Thomson is to be awarded a council’s highest honour.

Gosport Borough Council is to bestow him with the freedom of the borough.

It comes after the 39-year-old yachtsman, who holds two world records, single-handedly raced 24,000 miles in the Vendée Globe.

Alex told The News the council’s ‘fantastic’ plans came as a complete surprise.

He said: ‘It’s an honour, I didn’t know at all. I love living in the town, what more can I say – it’s perfect.’

‘It’s great to know people support you and they’re interested in what you’re doing.

‘If I can help in a little way to put Gosport on the map, then superb.’

Alex added new vinyl posters of him in the Post Office window in High Street had made it ‘difficult to hide’.

He attended both Bay House School, in Gomer Lane, Alverstoke, Gosport and St Vincent College, in Mill Lane.

Alex lives in the town with wife Kate and son Oscar.

He first shot to fame after becoming the youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world race, when he won the Clipper Round the World Race in 1999.

And back in July last year he smashed the solo skipper transatlantic west-to-east record, racing from New York in less than nine days.

In January he ended 80 days alone at sea in the Vendée Globe, placing third – after as many attempts at finishing the elite race.

Councillor Mark Hook is the leader of the borough council.

He said Alex proved his ‘true passion and love for the town’ when he called out the town’s name after finishing the Vendée Globe.

Cllr Hook said: ‘He should be rewarded for not only his sporting achievement but for his love and passion for the town.

‘When you’re touring around the world it’s very easy to go somewhere else but he chooses to come back home.

‘The nice thing with Alex is that he’s actually a really, really nice guy.

‘He’s approachable and talks to anyone.’

He added he wants Gosport to be one of the top 10 venues globally for sailing.

The decision on the award will go to a board and then full council.