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Big welcome for Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz at their Morton-on-Swale home, near Northallerton
PROUD, relieved and humbled – Olympic eventer Nicola Wilson returned home to North Yorkshire yesterday wearing her silver medal around her neck.
She and her horse, Opposition Buzz, were greeted by a joyous crowd of family, friends and supporters who welcomed her with hugs and cheers, banners and Champagne.
The 35-year-old from Morton- on-Swale, near Northallerton , described the emotional rollercoaster she experienced, from the devastation of being left out of the initial three-day eventing team to the sublime joy as the team won silver.
Patting her horse, she said “Opposition Buzz has made my dreams come true.”
But she described the team feeling “utter relief” that they had finished with a medal.
“It was recognition for all our supporters and all those people who helped get us there,” she said.
“It has been such a wonderful privilege to be able to compete in such a fantastic games that Britain has put on – I’m just incredibly proud and humbled at the same time.”
The rider said she had the time of her life in London, where she stayed at the Olympic Village and hung out with the likes of Andy Murray, Ryan Giggs and Victoria Pendleton.
“The atmosphere was just indescribable,” she said.
The former Hurworth Hunt Pony Club member has a long list of thankyous, including her parents Mary and Barry Tweddle, husband Alastair, Lynn Swift, who looks after Opposition Buzz, and the horse’s owner, Wetherbybased Rosemary Search.
The Olympian revealed that Buzz was born, bred and raised in Yorkshire – and competed throughout the games with a Yorkshire rose shaved into a buttock.
Mrs Search said the horse has a huge heart, but was not the easiest ride. “Fortunately, he and Nicola have struck up a most wonderful partnership,” she said.
Mrs Search added that she, too, had the most amazing time in London. “It’s going to stay with me for the rest of my life,” she said.
Mrs Tweddle also enjoyed the experience of watching her daughter compete at the gams.
“It was just surreal when we got down there – it was hard to believe we were actually at the Olympics.”
Others turning out to welcome Nicola and Buzz home include family friends Andrew and Marjorie Pybus, from Yafforth Grange, near Northallerton.
The couple, who are supporters of the Bedale Hunt, with which the Olympian and her family ride, bought a new television last week to watch the eventing on.
Mr Pybus told how he has an Olympic pedigree of his own – helping his father break in the horse Goodwill, which Zara Phillips’ mother, Princess Anne, rode in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
After having his picture taken a hundred times, Opposition Buzz was last night put back in his paddock where he relaxed as the party continued nearby.
Making dreams come true is hard work and he deserves a rest.