Olympic gold medallists granted the Freedom of Harborough District

The honours have been given to Olympian sailor Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Paralympian canoeist Laura Sugar

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:51 pm
Chairman Stephen Bilbie presents Freedom of the District scrolls to, from left, gold medalist Laura Sugar and Dylan Fletcher-Scott's parents Jane and Graham Fletcher, with Sarah Wright whose husband Chris Wright was Dylan's first coach who inspired him to compete.
Chairman Stephen Bilbie presents Freedom of the District scrolls to, from left, gold medalist Laura Sugar and Dylan Fletcher-Scott's parents Jane and Graham Fletcher, with Sarah Wright whose husband Chris Wright was Dylan's first coach who inspired him to compete.

Olympic gold medallists Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Laura Sugar have been granted the Freedom of Harborough District for their stunning sporting achievements.

Olympian sailor Dylan Fletcher-Scott, 34, is a former Robert Smyth student from Market Harborough who struck gold for Team GB in the Men’s 49er at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

And Paralympian canoeist Laura Sugar, 31, from Billesdon, also won a glorious gold for Team GB in the women’s KL3 Paracanoe in Tokyo 2020 last summer.

Thrilled Laura accepted her honorary scroll at Harborough District Council’s Annual Council meeting last night (Monday).

Dylan’s proud parents Jane and Graham Fletcher, from Market Harborough, were delighted to accept the scroll on his behalf as the brilliant sailor is away at a crucial training camp.

Harborough District Council unanimously agreed late last year that the authority would confer the titles of honorary freeman and honorary freewoman respectively to our two Olympic heroes.

The Freedom of the District is granted to “persons of distinction” who have “rendered eminent services” and have a strong association with the Harborough district.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Laura said: "I really appreciate this award.

“To be in the local area and be a sportsperson, it’s really lovely when everyone comes together like this.

“The pandemic was such a huge thing, but I was really helped by my local community in Billesdon and that sense of community.

“For example I was lent a gazebo so I could continue training in my back garden while it was raining,” smiled Laura.

“I believe that everything can be taught through sport, so I try to visit schools as much as possible to give kids the exposure to sport and I say to them that you can just give it a go.”

Dylan went to Market Harborough C of E School before moving up to Kibworth High School and Robert Smyth School.

His mum Jane said at the presentation: “My husband Graham and I are absolutely delighted to be here representing our son Dylan in receiving the honour that you have bestowed on him.

“From a very young age Dylan held a very deep-rooted, and very early, ambition to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games in sailing.

“He is very humbled by the support that he’s received from his school, his teachers, local businesses and charities, and of course the people of Harborough who have followed his journey,” added Jane.

“He is extremely honoured to have been awarded Freedom of the District.”

Council leader Cllr Phil King said: “I hope everyone finds the stories of both Laura and Dylan very inspiring - I know I did, and hopefully others will as well.”

Cllr King had put forward a motion to the council, seconded by Shadow Leader Cllr Phil Knowles, to grant the brilliant athletes Freedom of the District to showcase their outstanding achievements.

These are the first honours of their kind in the district since 2011, when the Royal Anglian Regiment were awarded Freedom of the District.