Olympic medallist Gail Emms says Hitchin’s a premier place as she opens new hotel
- Credit: Archant
An Olympic medallist who was born in Hitchin came back to her roots today to help open a hotel.
Gail Emms, who won a silver medal in the badminton mixed doubles at the Athens Olympics in 2004 returned to the town of her birth this afternoon to officially open the new Premier Inn hotel on Portmill Lane.
Gail – who was awarded the MBE for services to sport in 2009 – was born in the old Hitchin hospital, before her parents moved to Bedford when she was young, was delighted to be back in Hitchin. She said: “I’m very proud Hitchin is on my passport as my place of birth. Unfortunately my parents decided to defect to Bedford when I was a young girl.
“As an athlete, everyone asks me: ‘Where are you from?’ And I always say Hitchin. I’m proud of the fact I do have a tie to Hitchin in that I was born here, although I can’t say I’ve spent a lot of my life here.
“I do come back to catch up with friends and uncles and aunties and cousins, who live near here, in Stotfold and Baldock, and I visited Hitchin Boys’ School a couple of years ago to give a talk which was nice.
“I now live in Milton Keynes which is the opposite of Hitchin. It’s is great as there are so many independent shops and lovely restaurants. There’s also a real community feel. It’s a real pleasure coming back and seeing all the lovely people here.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people from Hitchin and there’s a real sense of pride in the town and it’s great Premier Inn want to make this hotel community-based by employing lots of young people from the area.”
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With the hotel chain having the comedian Lenny Henry spearhead a national TV campaign Gail added: “I think he would be a great badminton doubles partner – and if we were getting beaten at least he could make me laugh.”
GailEmms opened the new Premier Inn, Hitchin Town Centre and the hotel chain’s 60,000th room. For exclusive saver rates visit www.premierinn.com