It seemed only appropriate that rower Helen Glover, a double Olympic gold medallist, made a splash on her hen do ahead of her wedding to TV presenter Steve Backshall. Just four days before she tied the knot with Steve in a romantic ceremony on a Cornish cliff top, Helen was given a surprise celebration that included an afternoon at the Total Wipeout-style Aqua Park at the Retallack resort near Padstow.
"It was amazing," she told HELLO!. "It felt like a chance to get away from the post-Olympic excitement and wedding prep. The highlight was sitting round and laughing with friends, which I haven't been able to do for a long time due to my training programme. And the fact that my mum and sisters could be part of it."
Heather Stanning, who won a second Olympic gold with Helen at Rio 16, revealed that she had managed to keep the whole day a total surprise from Helen.
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Helen Glover made a splash at the Total Wipeout-style Aqua Park at the Retallack resort
"It wasn't too hard as I haven't seen her much since we've been back from Rio," added Heather, who along with Helen is the World, Olympic, World Cup and European record holder. "If I had organised it earlier, when I was seeing her every day, there is no way I would have not been able to tell her!"
The two women share a room when they're training together – and Helen often spends more time with Heather than she does with Steve. "Our friendship isn't just about us training together and working hard to achieve our goals, but we have fun away from that, too," said Heather. "Helen has a great group of friends and family who I've been lucky to get to know over the last few years."
"The highlight was laughing with friends," said Helen
The hen party group spent the day at The Herons, a luxurious lakeside lodge in the resort, and enjoyed spa treatments and a meal. Helen had also had a hen party in Rio, when she and her athlete friends went to a Samba club. Wildlife TV presenter Steve had an outdoors-themed stag that included paddleboarding in the Wye Valley.
With the hen do over, Cornish-born Helen had her big day to look forward to. "I can't wait," she said.
The Olympic champion married Steve Backshall four days after her hen
For more information, visit retallackresort.co.uk.
Pick up a couple of HELLO! next week for exclusive coverage of Helen Glover and Steve Backshall's romantic Cornish wedding.