THE Vale’s rowing heroes did the county proud at the Olympic Games – with Alex Gregory taking home a gold medal and Zac Purchase silver.

It was all smiles for Alex, formerly of Evesham Rowing Club, who grabbed a gold in the men’s coxless fours at Eton Dorney.

Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge and Tom James teamed up with Alex to edge out Australia in thrilling style. After the victory five-time Olympic champion Steve Redgrave said it was “probably the best they have ever rowed”.

His triumph was very nearly replicated by Zac, also a former Evesham rower, who had to be content with silver after being agonisingly edged out just as the finish line beckoned in the lightweight men’s double scull final.

His efforts with rowing partner Mark Hunter were watched by about 150 fans at King’s School in Worcester, where the 26-year-old was educated.

Jim Chalmers, head of rowing at the King’s School, who was among those watching Zac on a large screen, said: “He’s a fantastic competitor.”

After the event Zac took to social networking site Twitter to say he was “completely overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support.

He said: “Thank you again for all the amazing support – it is so humbling.”

He also told his 11,200 followers he was “going to spend the next week celebrating the amazing success story” of the country’s sporting athletes rather than being down in the dumps over his narrow miss.