PROUD parents of Pete Reed have spoken of their delight after the Nailsworth rower claimed a historic third Olympic gold medal.

Reed, who is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, helped team GB men’s eight win their first gold for 16 years at the Games in Rio.

Nailsworth fell silent on Saturday as residents tuned in to watch Reed’s victory, including his family at their home in Watledge.

Pete’s mum, Sue Reed, said this medal was even more special than her son’s triumphs at the Beijing and London Olympics.

“I am super proud, it is stunning,” she told the SNJ.

“This was totally different (to Beijing and London) because we were surrounded by friends and family and that’s never happened before so I think it was even more special.”

Reed, a former pupil at Nailsworth Primary and Cirencester Deer Park Schools, came into rowing by complete chance when he was studying mechanical engineering at the University of the West of England.

His talent was spotted by coach and Olympic silver medallist Fred Smallbone before he gained a place at Oxford University where he met friend and triple Olympic gold medallist Andrew Triggs Hodge.

“He came late into the sport and completely by chance,” said dad Leo, 65, a retired aerospace engineer at Rolls-Royce.

“As a boy he enjoyed mountain biking and played rugby but he really took to rowing when he started at university.

“His rise to the top couldn’t have been any faster. It is a bit of a fairytale story.

“It is astonishing what he has achieved.”

Mr Reed added that he has seen first hand the sacrifices made by his son.

“It is seven days a week, one day off a month,” he added.

“He goes through total physical exhaustion, but of course it is worth it.”

Reed is due arrive in the UK on Monday, and he will likely receive a hero’s reception in Nailsworth.

Thousands turned out for an open top bus parade between Stroud and Nailsworth after Reed won gold at the London 2012 Olympics.

Two of the gold post boxes in the town have already been decorated with union jacks and messages of support after the rower’s success on Saturday.

Town mayor Jonathan Duckworth told the SNJ: “It was a most incredible performance.

“It has taken years of dedication and to win the way he did was remarkable.

“I am sure most of Nailsworth was watching it, I certainly was.

“His family must be very proud of what he has achieved, and the people of Nailsworth are too.”

He added that there would likely be civic events planned after he returned.

MP Neil Carmichael hailed the success as great news for the area.

He said: “I am delighted with Pete Reed’s triumph in Rio.

“Coming, as it does, after Pete’s Olympic successes in Beijing and London, this proves real talent and dedication.

“Celebrations are in order, especially in Nailsworth where I know many people were rooting for Pete. Great news for our locality.”