Water polo pair meet Queen and PM

Beckie Kershaw and Alex Rutlidge
Beckie Kershaw and Alex Rutlidge

“IT doesn’t feel like it really happened.”

The Olympics were a whirlwind experience for former Heysham High School pupil Beckie Kershaw who played for the women’s water polo team as part of Team GB.

The 22-year-old, along with Burton-in-Kendal’s Alex Rutlidge, played in front of sold out crowds at the Water Polo Arena during the games.

Kershaw said: “We’ve never played in front of that number of people.

“I didn’t know that many people knew what water polo was. It was surreal, it doesn’t feel like it really happened.”

Former Queen Elizabeth Kirkby Lonsdale pupil Rutlidge said: “It has been amazing, I’ve enjoyed every minute. I really miss it but it’s nice to be home.” The pair had visitors such as the Queen and David Cameron during their time in the Olympic village, as well as bumping into Team GB stars like double gold medalist Mo Farah.

Rutlidge, 23, said: “You walked around and saw so many people, it was a great atmosphere. In GB house everyone would stop and say hello and you would see people who had just won gold medals and congratulate them.”

As it was a home Olympics, both girls also said the home support, which included their families, made a real difference.

Former Queen Elizabeth Kirkby Lonsdale pupil Rutlidge said: “The atmosphere was amazing. The crowd were so loud, one of the Spain girls said it was really intimidating. It nice for my mum, dad and sister to be able to come because I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Three male members of the Lancaster club, Ciaran James, Alex Parsonage and Glen Robinson also played at the Olympics along with a host of volunteers who went down to be Games Makers.

Kershaw said: “Some of the younger boys were ball boys and the Olympic slogan was about inspiring a generation, which it really has.”