Waterlooville community gives homecoming celebration to gold medal winner

Invictus gold medal-winner Andy McErlean with staff from Sainsburys in Waterlooville
Invictus gold medal-winner Andy McErlean with staff from Sainsburys in Waterlooville
  • No rest for athlete as he prepares for another competition
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PROTEIN shakes, porridge and pasta are the usual fare for world-class athletes.

But yesterday it was a helping of triple-layered chocolate cake for gold medallist Andy McErlean.

The 46-year-old, who won a gold medal at the Invictus Games last month, was surprised with the home-baked cake at his local supermarket, Sainsbury’s in Waterlooville.

Staff wanted to show their local pride in the athlete, who also won a silver medal in the wheelchair basketball.

The former soldier laughed he could treat himself to a ‘little bit’ before he flies out tomorrow for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Andy, who lives in Park Road, Denmead, said: ‘It’s fantastic. The staff are lovely there.’

Along with teammate Alex Krol, Andy went on to win the finals 6-1 against New Zealand. He was presented his gold medal by Prince Harry.

It was the second time Andy has competed in the games after becoming paralysed from a car crash.

Then 19 and just a year after joining the army, he was seriously injured when the car overturned.

But his determination and passion for sport prevailed and he went on to win a gold medal in the 2014 Invictus Games in the basketball final against America.

About his latest victory, he said: ‘It was a proud moment. To get the gold medal presented by Prince Harry was remarkable.’

Carol London, the PR ambassador for Sainsbury’s at Waterlooville, said: ‘One of my colleagues Rebecca Hodgson met Andy in the store.

‘He’s a regular customer of ours. She followed him in the games and because he did so well she wanted to do something to show our appreciation for what he has done.’

The cake was baked and decorated in gold and silver by Tracie Somerton, who works at the store.

Carol added: ‘Andy is an amazing person. It was lovely to see the medals. We are very proud of him.’