Legendary Norfolk sportsman puts record Commonwealth medal haul on display
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Medals belonging to the Commonwealth's most decorated sportsman are set to go on display for the first time.
Mick Gault, from Dereham, competed in shooting at six Commonwealth Games and won 18 medals along the way.
His bronze in the 10-metre air pistol event at Glasgow 2014 brought him level with fellow shooter Phillips Adams, but Mr Gault's nine golds put him top of the pile.
Following a chance conversation with Andy Sullivan, owner of Norski Noo's Gallery in Dereham, they decided to put the medals on display and inspire the next generation.
Mr Gault said: "I'm a regular customer here and one day, when Andy and I were talking, he asked whether I'd fancy displaying them in the shop.
"For years they've been sitting in a safe at home, so I thought the gallery would be a good place to finally put them on show.
"I wasn't actually very well when I won that last medal in Glasgow. I started to get heart problems and my vision went funny, but the doctor said I was okay.
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"My wife and daughter gave me a good talking to ahead of the final and winning that 18th medal was a great feeling."
Becoming the most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time was a long-held ambition and Mr Gault was understandably delighted.
But, just a few months later, it became clear the 65-year-old wasn't really 'okay' when he suffered a stroke on Christmas Day as a result of an underlying heart defect.
"After that I decided I didn't want to shoot again," added Mr Gault. "I'd already achieved my goals - there wasn't anything left for me to do. I've done it and it's etched in history.
"I don't really miss it. I know if I compete it's bad for my heart and shooting was something that took over our lives for 30 years."
Mr Gault's record haul, as well as his OBE, will go on display at Norski Noo's from Monday, August 13, for the remainder of the school holidays.
"I think this can only be a good thing," said Mr Sullivan. "The whole principle is to inspire young people and show what can be achieved when you have a positive outlook.
"These medals - and Michael - are something unique to Norfolk and we should be very proud."