London 2012 Olympics: Steel City to welcome Jessica Ennis home with a ‘sea of gold’
Jessica Ennis has been promised a “champion’s welcome” with a golden theme when she returns to her home city on Friday.
Thousands of people are expected to gather in Sheffield city centre for a celebration of the gold medal-winning heptathlete’s achievements before a formal civic reception.
And organisers have asked those coming to bring something or wear something gold to mark the occasion.
Despite being the face of London 2012, Ennis is still very much part of the city where she was born and brought up.
She still turns out to compete for the athletics club she joined at 13. She continues to live and train in Sheffield and has the same coach she had when she was a teenager. And she is engaged to Andy Hill, a Sheffield boy she met when she was at school.
The welcome home event will take place outside the City Hall, in Barker’s Pool – home to an 80ft-high poster of Ennis and the postbox which has been painted gold in her honour.
An open-air celebration of her victory with music, sports activities and film is promised from 4pm, with the star of the show arriving after 6pm.
“Jessica is a world-beater, Olympic champion and, above all, a Sheffield girl, and we want to welcome her home in style. We want to turn the city centre into a sea of gold,” said Lord Mayor John Campbell.
“We have all followed her rise to Olympic glory over the years and now we cannot wait to see her back in her home city.
“She has done Sheffield proud and we want to celebrate her sporting prowess in the place where it all began. I’d urge Sheffielders to come and show their support for Jessica and join in the city’s celebrations.”
Meanwhile, Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed has been told he will be honoured with a civic reception and open-top bus tour in his home town.
Civic leaders in Nailsworth, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, are planning an event fitting of a double Olympian. Reed, who is in the Royal Navy and a former Oxford Blue, won gold at London 2012 in the men’s coxless four, retaining the title he first won at Beijing in 2008.
It has been a busy few weeks for the 31-year-old, as he also proposed in front of his team mates to his girlfriend Frauke Oltmanns during the Olympic closing ceremony. Leo Reed, the rower’s father, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of the local community and very proud of our son’s achievement as a double Olympian and are delighted that he has announced that he will go on and race in the next Olympics. We’re very much looking forward to the celebrations in Stroud and Nailsworth.”
Exact details of the event, to take place on 15 September, have not yet been revealed.
The Scottish Institute of Sport, meanwhile, said last night that it expects an announcement will be made this week on how Scotland’s Olympians – including the likes of Chris Hoy, Andy Murray and Michael Jamieson – will be honoured.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east