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Newsroom

Olympic Athlete wins ovation

Stuart Bithell alongside his dad Les at BAE Systems following his Silver Medal award at the Olympics in 2012
A spontaneous round of applause rang through our Samlesbury site in recognition of an Olympic achievement by one of Team Great Britain's most charismatic medal winners.

Employees at our Samlesbury facility in Lancashire, on 5 September, were clapping Olympic Silver Medallist Stuart Bithell, who with crew member Luke Patience, won the Silver Medal in the 470 Class event in the Olympic Sailing.

Stuart was in Samlesbury to thank staff who, along with his dad, Les Bithell who works in the Tornado Airframe business had been cheering him on throughout the Olympic Games. The 26 year old full-time sportsman popped into Samlesbury site in full Team GB kit and with his Olympic Silver Medal.

Lynn Chambers, one of many employees who took the chance to shake Stuart’s hand during the lunchtime break, said: “I felt really proud to meet an Olympic Silver Medallist so close to home. Working with Les, we all thought we had got to know Stuart through his dad during the Games and it was fabulous that he did so well and was up there on the podium. It just makes you really proud.”

While many who met Stuart said they ‘couldn’t believe’ how heavy the Silver Medal was, all were impressed by his modesty and the time he gave to take an interest in them.

Stuart’s dad, Les said: “Yesterday was a way a proud dad could say thanks to the people I work with for their support during the Olympics. The interest they have shown and the messages I received during the games was fantastic. I hope seeing the medal, touching it and chatting to Stuart made people very happy. Maybe gold next time !!!!!!!!!!!!.”

What did he say when Stuart won the Silver Medal? “I have to confess,” he says, “I did have a tear in my eye. We didn’t say anything. We just gave each other a hug – but it wasn’t just any hug.”