Home towns welcome Olympic GB heroes
- 26 August 2012
- From the section UK
There will be an official victory parade to celebrate Team GB's success at the Olympics and Paralympics in London on 10 September, but in the meantime some of the Olympic medal winners are being greeted like heroes on their return to their home cities, towns and villages.
Here are some of the events taking place around the country.
Celebrations took place in Henley-on-Thames to mark the achievements of Team GB's rowers, including members of the Leander Club.
Some 12 athletes from the club won medals, including golds for two crews and silvers and bronzes for two more. They took part in a rowing event on the Thames, with the event culminating with an open-top bus ride through the town.
Alex Gregory, who won gold in the men's four, said: "We're really starting to appreciate what it means to people and we can, we're paying back Henley now for all the support they've given us and Leander Club here so it's a special day for us."
Olympic gold medallist Steven Burke returned to Lancashire, where he was taken around Colne in an open-top car, followed by a cavalcade of cyclists.
The 24-year-old, nicknamed The Colne Cyclone, won gold in the men's team pursuit track cycling at London 2012.
Later Jade Jones celebrated her taekwondo gold medal in Flint, North Wales.
The teenager appeared on the balcony at Flint Town Hall before hundreds who had turned up despite heavy rain.
Nicola Adams showed off her Olympic gold medal on her return to Leeds and said she would be happy to be a role model for a generation of young girls.
Hundreds turned out at the city's Merrion Centre to see the 29-year-old flyweight champion.
She said: "To think I am a role model because of doing my sport is an honour and a great achievement. My love of boxing has brought this to life."
Homecoming celebrations took place in Lowestoft, Suffolk for Olympic bronze medal-winning middleweight boxer Anthony Ogogo. The medallist was presented to his home town on a stage in London Road North.
Meanwhile, a civic reception in honour of 23-year-old gymnast Kristian Thomas took place in Halesowen, West Midlands.
More than 200 people welcomed him at a reception at Earls Gymnastics Club, attended by the Mayor of Dudley.
Hundreds of supporters turned out to greet Olympic silver medallist Saskia Clark when she returned home to Mersea Island in Essex.
The sailor paid tribute to the support she has received over the past 20 years, describing it as "amazing".
Wiltshire's Olympic gold medal winning sprint canoeist Ed McKeever returned to his home town of Bradford-on-Avon on Monday.
Some 2,000 well wishers attended the event in honour of the kayaker, who took victory in the K1 200m.
During his trip, he paid a visit to the postbox painted gold in recognition of his sporting achievement.
In a short speech, he said he was "just overwhelmed by the amount of support that you guys have shown me".
An Olympic gold medal celebration was held in Cornwall to honour rower Helen Glover.
Glover, 26, and rowing partner Heather Stanning, 27, won Britain's first gold of the 2012 Games in the rowing pairs final, and Britain's first by women rowers.
After a ride in an RNLI lifeboat, Glover was driven on an open-top bus from Newlyn to Penzance where hundreds of fans lined the streets to greet her.
Glover, who grew up in Penzance but now lives in Caversham, near Reading, said it was an emotional homecoming.
"I've seen quite a few people. I cried last night when my family and friends were with me. I said I wasn't going to cry at all, but I did, once," she said.
A reception was also held at her former school, Humphry Davy.
Meanwhile, four-time gold medallist Bradley Wiggins was joined by hundreds of cyclists for a 99-mile (160km) bike ride on the routes he trains on in Lancashire.
Speaking after the Ride with Brad event, Wiggins said he had been overwhelmed by the response from people who turned out in the rain to cheer him.
Crowds of people in Peterborough lined the city's streets on Saturday to welcome home Louis Smith.
The gymnast, who visited his club in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire before his appearance in Peterborough, won an individual silver in the pommel horse event and a bronze medal in the men's team competition.
Smith signed autographs and waved to his fans waiting in the sunshine along the route of the open top bus tour.
Fellow Team GB gymnast Max Whitlock was also welcomed back home to Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, with a reception at the town's civic centre.
The 19-year-old scored 15.600 on the pommel horse which landed him a bronze in the event, with team-mate Smith winning a silver medal.
The achievements of the double Olympic bronze medallist - in the individual pommel horse and men's team competitions - have already been celebrated at a homecoming party at his gymnastics club in Basildon.
People waving Union flags cheered Olympian Mary King as she rode through the streets of her home town of Sidmouth in Devon.
The victory parade was organised to welcome the equestrian eventing team silver medallist and her horse Imperial Cavalier home.
King, among the oldest members of Team GB at 51, was presented with the honour "Freeman of the Town" - the first person not involved in local government to be given the honour.
Meanwhile, a number of Olympic medallists were invited to football grounds on the first day of the English season to be officially greeted by the fans there.
They included rower and West Ham fan Mark Hunter who allowed children at Upton Park to wear his lightweight double scull silver medal before he watched his team take on Aston Villa.
Yorkshire boxer Nicola Adams, who won a gold medal at the nearby ExCeL Centre, was also a guest at the same match. She later tweeted: "Don't worry #leeds I'm still coming bk on monday."
Meanwhile, Team GB's youngest gold medallist, Jade Jones, has learned she is to get a surprising honour in her home town. The Flint Pavilion Leisure Centre will be renamed in honour of 19-year-old, who beat the rest of the world in taekwondo.
She will also tour Flint in an open top bus on Saturday 25 August.
Up to 20,000 people gathered in Sheffield city centre to welcome home Olympic championJessica Ennis.
The gold medal-winning heptathlete took to a stage to greet the packed crowd of fans as she was told she was to be handed the freedom of the city.
Ennis, 26, said it was nice to be home but "more than anything it is overwhelming".
Gold medallist equestrians Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardinvisited Sark after their success at the Olympics.
Hester lives and trains in Gloucestershire but was born in the Channel Island.
The GB team of Hester, Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer won gold in the dressage.
The island's only postbox has been painted gold in honour of Hester.
Gymnast Beth Tweddle, who won a bronze medal in what was her final Olympics at London 2012, had a celebration at Salford's MediaCity.
It will not be the last event for the 27-year-old as she will also be one of the guests of honour at an event for Cheshire Olympians, to be held at a later date.
The gymnast, who won bronze on the uneven bars, will be given an open-top bus tour by the mayor.
A Victorian act of Parliament was used to give a quick go-ahead to the family of double Olympic gold medal cyclist Laura Trottto hold a street party in her honour in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.
They had been told it could take weeks for the council to give permission for such an event.
But officials learned they could use the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act which allows "thronging on the highway".
At least 200 people attended the private street party to welcome Trott home.
"It's amazing, I'm so glad so many people came out. It's mad, I can't believe it," she said.
Royal Mail said a postbox in Lymington, Hampshire, would be repainted gold in honour of four-time Olympic gold medallistBen Ainslie.
It originally said it would paint a postbox only in Cornwall, where Ainslie was raised - but Royal Mail did a U-turn and agreed to paint the one in Lymington where the sailor lives.
A trio of Team GB rowers showed off their medals during a day of celebrations in Coleraine.
Brothers Richard and Peter Chambers took silver in the lightweight fours, while Alan Campbell won bronze in the single sculls.
The team-mates visited the Bann Rowing Club, where they trained, then appeared in the town centre.
Team GB Olympic sailors - winners of a gold and four silver medals - were cheered through the streets of Weymouth and Portland in an open-top bus.
Ben Ainslie praised the hundreds of supporters who turned out to greet the team as their bus navigated the winding streets, led by a police convoy.
He said: "It's absolutely amazing being in front of a crowd like that. All the people out there supporting us made a huge difference."
Cyclist Lizzie Armitstead - whose women's road-race silver medal kicked off Team GB's medal-winning run - took an open-top bus tour of her home town of Otley, West Yorkshire.
Cycling residents - including her grandmother, Marjorie Dunn - followed the bus on their bikes as part of the celebration, and it was Armitstead's second welcome home following Monday's event in Leeds.
Rower Katherine Copeland's return was celebrated with a reception at Stockton's Tees Rowing Club. She revealed she felt "no pressure" to win.
The 21-year-old triumphed in the women's double sculls with partner Sophie Hosking.
Pete Reed, who became a double Olympic champion when he clinched gold in the men's coxless four, was honoured with a civic reception and open-top bus tour of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.
Meanwhile, a victory parade for Scotland's Olympians will be held on Friday 14 September, it has been announced.
SportScotland said the event would be a "fitting and appropriate celebration" for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including Sir Chris Hoy, who became Britain's most successful Olympian at London 2012.
Britain's most decorated Olympic sailor, Ben Ainslie, was welcomed back to his home yacht club with a champagne reception.
The 35-year old four-time gold medal winner was greeted with cheers by members of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club on the Hampshire coast.
Olympic gold medal-winning boxer Luke Campbell also had a homecoming party thrown in his honour in Hull.
The event, which saw about 13,000 people gather outside Hull City Hall on Tuesday evening, also celebrated Hull Olympian Alex Smith, who reached the men's hammer final.
Campbell, 24, who trains at the city's St Paul's Boxing Academy, said he was "overwhelmed" by the welcome and as he appeared on a balcony before the cheering crowd he said: "This is why I've always been proud to be from Hull."
As well as being honoured with a commemorative gold postbox, he has had a telephone kiosk painted gold.
In Wales, the family of 19-year-old taekwondo Olympic gold medal winner Jade Jones welcomed her back home to Flint.
Bronze boxing medal winners Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan were welcomed back to their home city of Belfast with an open-top bus ride through its centre.
The pair, who fought for Team Ireland - not Team GB - arrived back at Dublin airport on Monday and were honoured at a reception at Titanic Belfast in the evening.
Given that if Yorkshire was a country it would have been 12th in the medal-winners' table, it is hardly surprising it hosted some of the first homecoming celebrations.
About 5,000 people attended an event to mark the achievements of Leeds' Olympic athletes - including triathlon stars Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, silver-medal cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and Nicola Adams, who made history as the first ever Olympic women's boxing champion - at Millennium Square.
Gold medallist Alistair Brownlee said seeing such a large crowd turn out in his home city was "absolutely amazing", and he felt like he is "on the crest of a wave and about to fall off it any day now".
Adams, who was unable to attend, sent a recorded message to say she could not wait to show her gold medal to "everybody in Yorkshire".
Olympic cycling gold medallist Dani King was another of the athletes to receive a warm welcome in her home village of Hamble, near Southampton.
The 21-year-old, who won the team pursuit alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell, said the reception was "absolutely incredible".
Villagers also turned out for a special party to congratulate Olympic shooting gold medallist Peter Wilson in his home village of Glanvilles Wootton, Dorset.
Plans are also under way for "a huge welcome home party" in Plymouth to celebrate Tom Daley's bronze medal in the men's 10m individual platform diving and Plymouth-trained Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte's gold in the women's 100m breaststroke.