Whirlpool joined forces with appliance care provider Domestic & General to send the parents of Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty to Rio.
Disabled caretaker Mark Peaty (pictured right), 56, and his wife nursery manager Caroline (pictured left), 50, live in Uttoxeter with their 21-year-old son Adam.
Last month their Whirlpool washing machine broke down and a chat with their service engineer turned to their children’s shared love of swimming. Mark and Caroline also shared their worry over whether or not they would be able to attend the games to support their son due to the financial strain.
Mark Peaty said: “We mentioned we were hoping to go to Rio to support Adam, if he qualified, but had been trying to get hold of tickets since December and costs were through the roof.
“To be honest, the whole process of acquiring tickets and finding accommodation was far from easy. Firstly, you can’t take for granted your child will make the team, but booking and acquiring tickets needed to be done a long time before the trials. Of course, the price of tickets went up considerably, but Caroline was heartbroken when she wasn’t able to see Adam make the Great Britain squad due to work and financial reasons, so there was added pressure on us making the Rio trip.”
The engineer relayed the information back to his employer, resulting in Whirlpool and Domestic & General rallying together to pay for the couple’s tickets and accommodation.
Adam’s parents got to be present when he won gold in 100m breaststroke in 57.13 seconds and also ended Great Britain’s 28-year wait for a men’s Olympic swimming title.
Mum Caroline said: “I’m so very proud of our son. We knew what he was capable of, but the world record – in addition to the gold medal – is something else. We’re thrilled the hard work has paid off and he’s fulfilled his lifelong dream. Watching him compete, I think I was more nervous than him but it was incredible to be there and soak up the atmosphere. Hopefully this is the first of many gold medals for Great Britain.
“Family support, at swim meets, is so important – to be there with Adam to share the joys and also the disappointments. I travelled to Glasgow to watch Adam in his first Commonwealth Games competition, but wasn’t able to stay to watch the remainder of his swims. Having to leave was heartbreaking, so being here in Rio and actually being able to stay for the duration, means so much.”
Mrs Peaty travelled the country with Adam as he worked his way through Open Meets, County, Midland, National and British Championships.
She added: “It’s been very difficult at times juggling family, finances and supporting Adam to fulfil his dream of becoming a world-class swimmer, but we’re both extremely proud of him and all of his achievements. We also know how important it is to Adam to have his mum and dad there, knowing the two people who’ve been on the journey from the beginning with him will be there to watch him race. It’s funny to think the years of washing towels, kit and clothes have made it possible.”
A spokesman for Domestic & General said: “When we heard about the Peatys’ struggles getting to Rio, we were keen to help. We pride ourselves on taking the worry out of breakdowns but in this case, as well as resolving the appliance issue, we were able to go one step further. This couple has worked hard to support their son and have nurtured a champion. We’re delighted to have helped them make it to Rio to see their son win gold for Great Britain.”