Forget Trafalgar Square and the thousands who came out on to the streets of London to celebrate a fantastic summer of sport, Cheadle’s Trinity Methodist/URC also rolled out the red carpet, and a giant banner, in honour of two Olympians – Jenni Pinches and, visiting from Altrincham Methodist Church, Alan Blinston.
Jenni, the reigning English gymnastics champion, was also a key member of the women’s Olympic team at London 2012, which finished in sixth place, securing the best score by a women’s gymnastics team since the second world war. She was joined by runner Alan Blinston, who competed in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, and torch-bearer Lynn Ratcliffe.
The roll of honour didn’t stop their either, with local MP Mark Hunter in attendance alongside local councillors and Stockport’s mayor, councillor Wendy Meikle.
Jenni spoke about the effort, commitment and sacrifice that saw her win a place at London 2012. She revealed she’d chatted to both Prince William and Prince Harry, had a laugh with the Duchess of Cambridge, met prime minister David Cameron and worked alongside BBC TV presenter Matt Baker. She was also presented with gifts from the congregation.
Jenni, whose family play an active part in life at Trinity, talked about the importance of her own faith in achieving her goal of getting to the Olympics – and the belief it gave her to not only continue competing, but to register two personal bests, after one particularly painful fall from the beam during the team competition.
Jenni’s inspirational journey, that’s seen her devote 30 hours of training a week in the years leading up to the Olympics, was also used as a theme for a service that focussed on the importance of encouragement, character and determination in our lives at Christians, with minister Geoffrey Clarke setting his congregation a challenge to talk about their faith with the same verve and vigour as their many recent Olympic conversations...
Photo shows, from left to right: Mark Hunter, MP; Alan Blinston; Jenni Pinches; Cllr Wendy Meikle; Lynn Ratcliffe; Claire Meikle; Cllr Pam King and Geoffrey Clarke ©Stuart Ratcliffe