Telephone box in Harborough district village has been painted gold to salute their Paralympian sporting superstar

Double gold medal winner Laura Sugar said she is 'thrilled and honoured'

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:50 am
Laura Sugar unveils the plaque at the gold library box. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The telephone box in a Harborough district village has been painted gold to salute an amazing Paralympian sporting superstar who has just struck gold herself twice.

Laura Sugar, 30, said she was “thrilled and honoured” after the phone kiosk – now a library – in her home village of Billesdon was given a stunning make-over to celebrate her sensational double victory.

And a new gold plaque was also unveiled at the phone box and another at the village’s Coplow Centre before dozens of excited residents in a glittering ceremony on Sunday (October 24).

Laura Sugar unveils the plaque at the gold library box. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Today ecstatic Laura, who wore her GB jacket and showed off her precious gold medal, said: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“My heart was beating a little bit faster as I went along to be honoured!

“It was just fantastic to be recognised in this way by the people of Billesdon.

“And it was great to see so many villagers turn out and come along to salute me.

Laura Sugar unveils the plaque at the gold library box. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“It was very humbling and I can’t thank the people here enough,” said Laura.

The gifted elite athlete is blazing a truly golden trail after carving out stellar careers in not one, not two but three different sports – hockey, sprinting and canoeing.

Multi-talented Laura captained the Wales under-20s hockey team before taking up athletics.

“I’ve loved all sports since I was a girl and really got into hockey at first.

Laura Sugar unveils the plaque at the gold library box. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“I then took up athletics and embraced sprinting, finishing fifth in both the T44 200m and T44 100m at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016,” said Laura, who’s lived in Billesdon almost four years with her husband Tom as she trains at Loughborough University.

“I then decided to switch sports and started out again in canoeing.

“My high fitness and stamina levels were highly transferable and I was lucky that I began to work with some of the best coaches in the world in canoeing.

“And I was just so elated to come out on top and strike gold in the 200m KL3 kayak against the best in the world in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics just a few weeks ago.

Laura Sugar unveils the plaque at the gold library box. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“I was still battling jet lag when I set off for the World Championships in Denmark just a week later,” smiled Laura, who’s just flown off for a well-deserved sunshine break in Malta.

“I’d obviously recovered pretty well because amazingly I won gold there too in the KL3 sprint!

“It’s been a real rollercoaster few weeks – and I’ve loved every minute.

“And now I’ve been given an extra-special salute by the people of Billesdon too to top it all off – it’s just brilliant.

“Our village has got a genuine community spirit and the people have really helped each other out throughout the tough Covid pandemic, they are so kind and supportive.”

Born with a left club foot – also known as talipes – Laura had surgery to correct the problem as a baby.

But it left her with no movement in her ankle.

“It wasn’t easy but I never let it hold me back.

“My parents were excellent and encouraged me to make the most of every opportunity,” said Laura.

“Sport is so good for your mental health as well as your physical health.

“I’d recommend it to everyone.

“The big thing is to stay highly-motivated, put in the hard yards and keep that fire and desire, that competitive will to win.

“I’m living the dream, I love what I do.

“And I’m already setting my sights on grabbing more golds in the Paris Paralympics in 2024,” said Laura.

“As an elite canoeist I won’t be in my prime until I hit my mid-30s.

“So I’ve got a good few years left in me yet battling for more glory at the highest level.”