The only woman to win world and Olympic titles and break the record for hurdles has become the new patron of Sussex Search and Rescue.

Sussex Search and Rescue has announced former Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth 400m hurdles champion Sally Gunnell, OBE, as the charity’s Patron.

Sussex Search & Rescue is the primary volunteer resource used by Sussex Police to search for vulnerable missing people.

They charity is on call 24 hours every day throughout the year and receive no government funding.

The charity’s new Patron, Sally Gunnell, retired as a competing athlete in September 1997 following a successful running career which saw her claim two Olympic, three World, two European and six Commonwealth medals

She is the only female 400m hurdler in history to have won the Olympic and World titles and broken the world record.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Steyning in West Sussex, will now be the face of Sussex Search and Rescue, publically showing her support of the charity and its volunteers.

Sally Gunnell said,

“I am delighted to be able to support such a wonderful charity.

The service that Sussex Search and Rescue offers is vital for our community and these volunteers give so much time and effort to help those that need them the most across Sussex.”

Danny Wood, Chairman at Sussex Search and Rescue said:

“Sally Gunnell is one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes and we are proud to be able to call her our Patron.

Today is a proud day in the history of our unit.

We are excited to have Sally on board and look forward to working closely with her over the coming months to see how she can help us.”

Sussex Search and Rescue works closely with Sussex Police in the search for missing vulnerable people, a service appreciated by Sussex Police.

Sgt Russ Phillips, Sussex Police added:

“It is brilliant news that Sally is able to support Sussex Search and Rescue who are a fantastic group of trained volunteers that support us brilliantly in the search for missing people across the county.

We are confident that Sally will be able to offer great support to SusSAR and will help them continue to grow.”