Beds, Herts & Bucks

Olympic canoeist Etienne Stott given freedom of Bedford

Etienne Stott (left) receives the freedom of the borough of Bedford
Image caption Etienne Stott (left) was made an Honorary Freeman of Bedford Borough

Olympic gold medal-winning canoeist Etienne Stott has been awarded the honorary freedom of the borough of Bedford.

The Viking Kayak Club athlete won the C2 canoe slalom with Tim Baillie at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, just 18 months after a serious shoulder injury.

The 33-year-old was presented with a deed of conferment at Bedford's Old Town Hall on Monday.

Mr Stott said he was "very grateful" to receive the honour.

"It has been a whirlwind few months since the Olympics and this is a wonderful honour to round off a fantastic 2012," he said.

"I think it is always good if people are recognised for something they have worked hard at."

Etienne Stott's honour is the 18th such award made in the borough since 1902.

Past Olympic recipients have included the long distance runner Paula Radcliffe and rower Tim Foster, who both have connections with the town.

In September, Stott had Bedford's Duckmill Weir white water arena renamed after him.

Mayor of Bedford borough, Dave Hodgson, said: "This is the highest honour we can bestow on an individual and it is richly deserved."

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