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6 October 2006

As a result of the recent record breaking events that have taken place, I would like to take this opportunity to kindly use the BHDTA web-site to pass a message on to all that have been involved and supported us, the GB competitors, at the World Single Horse Driving Championships in Rome this September.

I find it a great privilege in winning the title and being World Champion, which I am still finding difficult to get used to. I salute my fellow team mates on their outstanding performance on winning the Team Gold, and I am sure that like me, this is the result that we all wanted but could only dream about - four gold medals and the National Anthem played not once but twice. This, I think, shows the talent of not only each of our competitors, but more importantly our home breed horses that were the real stars and shone through at the end of the day.

It?s not just the Drivers that should get the praise, without all the Back steppers, grooms, lorry drivers, cooks, etc; the individuals would not be able to concentrate on competing at that level. We must not also forget the officials on the team such as the Vets, Trainers, (neither of mine could get there) Physios, and above all the Chef d' Equipe. Georgina did an outstanding job of looking after us the GB competitors, we were all well briefed on the programme and rules as the event went on, and for that I thank her.

But it?s to our supporters that I need to say thank you the most. I knew that we were going to get a few flying all that way to support us, but we were taken aback by the number that made it there, and when you all cheered either in the grandstand or out at the obstacles, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and so proud to be British. I hope that we have brought enjoyment, entertainment and a continued enthusiasm to participate in this unique sport of competition carriage driving, and demonstrated that anything is achievable.

Finally, I would like to thank all my friends and fellow competitors, as well as sponsors, that have taken the time and sent cards and messages of congratulations to me, too numerous to mention individually, so this is for you also, a big thank you.

Paul Sidwell.