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We all had an ace time at the Olympics tennis
LIGHT WORK: Lieutenant Luke Beetlestone and Lieutenant Tim Silberman help gold medal winner Serena Williams to take the weight off her feet
CANDID photographs taken by soldiers from Worcestershire’s infantry regiment show them rubbing shoulders with tennis superstars as they helped provide security during the Olympic Games.
Troops from the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment have tweeted pictures of themselves posing alongside the likes of Olympic champions Andy Murray and Serena Williams, and former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe.
Major Adrian Garrett, of B Company, posted the snaps to his Twitter account at the weekend while they worked at Wimbledon. He said: “It was quite exciting for the chaps.
“Wimbledon is very open so the athletes move around very freely, which has been a part of the unique experience.”
The regiment had returned from Afghanistan at the end of April and had been on post-operation tour leave before they started training to provide security for the Olympics.
They spent four days being trained to use airport scanners, carrying out pat downs and dealing with the public.
The battalion was always due to take part, with 200 soldiers on day shift and 200 on night shift, but has been given a more prominent role following the failure of G4S to supply adequate security staff numbers.
In one of the pictures, Major Garrett and Company Sergeant Major Ben Cox, of Worcester, flanked former world number one McEnroe.
Major Garrett labelled the moment he and the former Hanley Castle High School pupil met the tennis legend as “awesome indeed”.
Tweeting a picture of Serena Williams, he said Lieutenant Luke Beetlestone and Lieutenant Tim Silbermann made “quite an impression” as they swept the ladies’ singles Olympic tennis gold medallist off her feet.
The picture was posted on the site on Sunday, the day after Williams had beaten Maria Sharapova for the gold medal.
And it was another medal winner who starred in a third picture as 2 Mercian’s CSM Ben Cox is shown standing alongside Olympic champion Murray, who is sporting his men’s singles tennis gold and mixed doubles silver medals.