Rebecca Adlington is the pride of Mansfield
Mansfield's homecoming Queen of the Beijing Olympics, Rebecca Adlington was welcomed home in style by the people of her hometown yesterday (Tuesday 26th August).
The message on the side of the open-top double-decker which took her around her hometown said it all: Rebecca Adlington is the pride of Mansfield
Already being described as one of the biggest events the town has ever seen, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people crammed into Mansfield Market Place and lined the bus route to welcome home Team GB's darling of an incredible Beijing Olympics.
Rebecca (19) stunned the world by claiming two gold medals, setting a new 800m Freestyle World Record and becoming Britain's most successful swimmer for 100 years in the process. But it is as much her refreshing manner out of the pool as it is her incredible performances in it which has so endeared her to the people of Mansfield. And they showed their adulation by turning out in their thousands.
Crowds gathered early in the Market Place, along the route and at the Civic Centre, where the bus began its journey at just after 6.30pm. The bus moved along Rosemary Street, Chesterfield Road, Clumber Street and Leeming Street before making a triumphant entrance into the Market Place. Fans were treated to a re-run of Rebecca's gold-medal performances on a giant screen before a fireworks and and confetti finale.
Prior to the festivities, Rebecca was chauffeur-driven to the Civic Centre in a golden Rolls Royce where she was greeted by Executive Mayor Tony Egginton. And Mayor Egginton made good on his pre-Olympic promise to present Rebecca with a pair of designer Jimmy Choo shoes if she returned home with a gold medal. Rebecca joined her family, coach Bill Furniss and the Mayor for a pre-bus tour press conference before posing for photographs and signing autographs ahead of boarding the bus.
Organisers of the event from Mansfield District Council were thrilled with the turn-out. And Mayor Egginton said afterwards: "The reaction of the people of Mansfield to Becky's achievements has been absolutely phenomenal. I know Rebecca and her family were truly touched and appreciative of all who attended and welcomed her home in style. She is a fantastic ambassador for Mansfield and a credit to herself, her family and our district.
"The media coverage has really put Rebecca and Mansfield on the map in a positive manner. It was estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 people lined the streets from the Civic Centre to the Market Place, and our fantastic welcome was witnessed by millions around the country.
"For me it was one of the greatest days for Mansfield I have ever witnessed and it was an honour for me to as Executive Mayor to host the homecoming."