Local heroes add sparkle to parade of golden glory
IT was a national celebration, but a little bit of South West Wales was at home in London yesterday.
Thousands of fans lined the streets of the capital to celebrate the incredible achievements of Team GB's Olympic and Paralympic heroes who have done so much for sport in the UK this summer.
Among those taking in the sights was Swansea's multi-medalist Ellie Simmonds.
Ellie, who trains at the National Pool in the city, took home two golds, a silver and a bronze from the games and has become one of the stars of London 2012.
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The 17-year-old wore the four medals she won around her neck and said of the crowd: "It's amazing, the support they've given us in the Olympics and Paralympics."
Other Welsh athletes taking part in the celebrations were discus gold medallists Aled Evans and Josie Pearson.
Other prominent Swansea-based paralympians who did their country proud during the summer of sport were medallists Steph Millward, Sam Hynd, Rob Welbourn and Matt Whorwood.
Team GB athletics captain, Llanelli's Dai Greene, Swansea weightlifter Natasha Perdue and swimmers Georgia Davies and Jemma Lowe, who also train at the National Pool, can also now call themselves Olympians at their home games.
Neath mezza-soprano Katherine Jenkins added her considerable voice to the proceedings, singing the national anthem.
Before her performance the singer tweeted: "Excited and humbled to be here with so many phenomenal people in the Mall today ... Let's show them our love! #Parade #Proud."
Up to 700 British Olympic and Paralympic athletes, including more than 90 per cent of the medal winners, took part in the parade.
The athletes packed onto 21 floats which started in the heart of the City of London and ended in the Mall.
Olympic gold medallists Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, Sir Chris Hoy and Ben Ainslie were part of the parade, as were Paralympic champion Sarah Storey.
The parade started at Mansion House and the route went via St Paul's Cathedral to Trafalgar Square down to the Queen Victoria Memorial.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "With the end of the most unbelievably successful Olympics and Paralympics, I just want to say what a golden summer of British sport and what a golden summer it has been for our country.
"I think it has given us a tremendous lift, I think it has brought the country together and I think it has given us memories that we will be talking about for years and generations to come."
Vote for your sports heroes of the year — page 19
Youngsters send their congratulations to inspirational Ellie — pages 32&33
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