OLYMPIANS Hannah Mills and Stuart Bithell helped a new store set sail when they attended the launch.

Pets at Home, based at the Weymouth Avenue retail park in Dorchester and featuring a pet village, reptile centre, aquatic centre and Vets 4 Pets veterinary surgery, threw open its doors to the public yesterday.

The company has invested around £600,000 for the new store which has created 10 jobs for local people.

Olympic sailor Hannah Mills who lives in Weymouth, won a silver medal for Team GB with her crew Saskia Clark in the 2012 Olympics.

She said: “We got involved with the store opening through our friend and local vet Matthew Burge.

“The store is in a great location and I love all the animals here - it offers a lot of products too.”

Stuart Bithell lives on Portland and competed in the 470 class at the 2012 Olympics, also winning a silver medal.

He said he was pleased to be asked to take part in the opening.

Mayor of Dorchester Stella Jones cut the opening ribbon to the new store with manager Christine Burdess.

Cllr Jones said: “I think the Pets at Home store is a very welcome new business in Dorchester and is in an excellent location for the county town.

“I wish the store all the best in the new venture, which looks to be very busy already with customers making their way in.”

News of Pets at Home’s arrival has been welcomed by West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin, who said the store was a great addition to the existing retail landscape.

Store manager Christine Burdess has been with Pets at Home for over 19 years, having previously worked at the Yeovil branch.

She said that the Pets at Home team were delighted to be part of the community in Dorchester.

She said: “The store is based in a fantastic area and the fact we can also bring the pet groom room and vets to the county town is fabulous.”

* The winner of the Dorset Echo competition in partnership with Pets at Home also travelled to the new store to collect her prize.

Linda Ironton, pictured, who lives on Portland, received £100 gift vouchers for the store and a grooming session for her dog Sapper.

She had been visiting her daughter in Gloucester when she got the call announcing that she had won.

Linda said: “Entering competitions is rare for me so winning has been fantastic.

“It was some very welcome good news.”