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A great end to Helen's golden year

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 03, 2013

  • Helen Glover, MBE, (left) with rowing partner Heather Stanning celebrate winning gold in the women's pair final at London 2012. Picture Stephen Pond/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY

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WHILE winning BBC TV's Olympic Superstars on Saturday brings with it a certain cachet, it's a title that may not last long in the memory outside the Glover household.

But Saturday's other big news for Penzance's golden girl and London 2012's first gold medallist is something that will never fade.

Helen Glover was made a Member of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List announced at the weekend.

The 26-year-old from King's Avenue, whose family owns the Jelbert's ice-cream shop in Newlyn, will from now on always be Helen Glover, MBE.

Helen told The Cornishman the honour had come as a surprise, especially as Team GB won so many Olympic gold medals in the summer.

She said: "I've known for a couple of weeks. It's a really nice surprise. I never even considered getting an honour like this. You train hard because you want to win Olympic gold and there's a lot that comes with that once you achieve it, but having someone else consider your achievement that highly is fantastic.

"It's a really nice way to end the year. It's been such an incredible 2012 so this is a great way to end the year."

Since winning gold alongside rowing partner Heather Stanning, Helen has been in the public eye and in huge demand, appearing on a wide variety of talk and celebrity game shows but also closer to home, including opening the new reception area at West Cornwall Hospital last week.

The former Humphry Davy School pupil, who spent a week back in Penzance with her family at Christmas, said she was now trying to get back to the gruelling life of an elite rower.

She said: "Now I'm back into training. I'm trying to resume a normal life as much as possible. Most weeks there's one event for medal-winners – I think as long as people are loving the Olympics there will be the demand – but I'm having to be sensible because I don't want to sacrifice my training for late nights and being all over the place."

Since committing herself to going to Brazil 2016 in October, Helen has been looking forward to getting back into training with her "sister" Heather.

She said: "My eyes are on 2016 – I've got four years' hard work to do."

The big issue now for the newly honoured Cornish girl is whether she is going to be able to pick up her gong.

The palace always holds a number of ceremonies to ensure that people can attend but Helen's calendar is already pretty full.

Mum Rachel Glover said: "I've known about the MBE since the middle of December. It's absolutely wonderful, a real honour and very exciting.

"We weren't expecting her to get an honour because there were so many gold medals at the Olympics.

"It's topped off a fantastic year for her and for us."

Helen, who jets off to Australia in March for a World Rowing Cup event, said: "I don't know when the presentation ceremonies are. I said at the press conference for the honours that I hope I'm in the country, but they've told me they will sort something out."

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