ONE of Great Britain's Olympic champions and his gold medal has visited East Lancashire.

Oliver Townend, part of the three day eventing team which topped the Tokyo podium, dined in Padiham's Lawrence Hotel on Friday night with fellow top-class rider Izzy Taylor.

And their presence, along with the medal, gave local Burnley LibDem councillors Gordon and Maggie Lishman a sporting surprise.

Mr Townend, straight off the plane from Tokyo, and Miss Taylor were staying at the hotel on their way to Broughton Horse Trials in Skipton starting at 8am the following morning.

After that they were going to Huddersfield so he could show his medal to his family.

Cllr Gordon Lishman said: "We were dining at the Lawrence Hotel in Padiham with friends who were up from London when the couple at the next table invited us to share a glass of champagne because they had something to celebrate.

"They were Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor who are the UK’s top two eventing riders

"Oliver showed us the gold medal he had won leading Team GB in the Team Eventing – a demanding discipline which includes dressage, cross-country and show-jumping.

"He said: 'I was the one on the grey.'

"Seeing Oliver and Izzy, it was very clear that they are both top athletes who are at the pinnacle of their sport.

"Both are looking forward to the Paris Olympics in only three years’ time.

"It was a great and entirely unexpected end to our evening.”

Cllr Maggie Lishman said, “It was definitely a meeting with an unexpected wow factor!

"Who could have predicted a gold medal evening in Padiham?

"Oliver told us that it was the country’s first Olympic medal in the discipline since Munich in 1972. It’s an encounter to remember for a very long time”.