London 2012: Cornish pride for rower Annie Vernon

Annie Vernon (second right) rowing with Team GB
Image caption Annie Vernon (second right) picked up the oars when she was 17-years-old

Members of a rowing club in Cornwall have been proudly following the progress of a "very driven" former member, Olympic finalist Annie Vernon.

David McWilliam, club captain at Castle Dore Rowing Club in Golant, near Fowey, where Miss Vernon rowed, remembers her "as very dedicated to her sport".

He said: "We rowed in a Boxing Day fun event together. Needless to say she beat me.

"When I first met her, she was well on her way to an Olympic place. We're tremendously proud."

Just one year after Mr McWilliam was beaten on the River Fowey, Miss Vernon won an Olympic silver in Beijing.

But the 29-year-old missed out on a medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of the women's eight team. The United States won gold, with Team GB coming in fifth place.

Back problem

Miss Verson is intensely proud of her Cornish roots, carrying the St Piran's flag on her rowing oars.

Her mother, Morwenna Vernon, said: "When she first made it into the squad as her bonding mechanism, she made all the team a Cornish pasty each. She makes a mean pasty."

Miss Vernon picked up the oars when she was 17 years old, inspired by her father who had also rowed.

When she was a student at Cambridge University, she rowed in the women's Blue Boat in 2003.

She gained her first GB vest in 2004, winning a bronze at the World Under-23 Championships in Poznan, Poland.

Miss Vernon has already experienced the tension of racing in an Olympics final. The Wadebridge girl won silver in the quad at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

However, her campaign for this year did not start well after she began 2012 with injury problems.

Mrs Vernon said: "She was blighted by a back problem from January, a disc problem. It was pretty serious for an athlete.

"She has had a lot of treatment, and has really fought her way to get back into the squad."

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