A county of champions: Welcome home bus parade brings out Leeds’ crowds
Yorkshire’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes were given a homecoming fit for champions on Wednesday 28th September, as tens of thousands of people came out to line the streets of Leeds.
Union Jack flags were waved and people were seen leaning out of windows to get a look at the sporting superstars and their gleaming collection of medals from Rio.
Set in a sea of colour, music and entertainment, Yorkshire’s athletes received a reception never to be forgotten as they toured the city centre on open top buses with coaches, supporters and family members.
Amongst those leading the procession was double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
Speaking of the magnitude of the parade, he said: “We can’t believe how many people are here.
“It's great being in our home city and we're very proud to be from Leeds and Yorkshire. What a welcome home.”
Accompanying the buses included a DJ and dancers from the West Indian Carnival, the Band of the King’s Division, West Yorkshire Police Band and the Handmade Samba Band, which helped ensure that the parade had a real Rio flavour.
The parade was organised in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire and got a ‘gold-standard’ review from Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity.
“Wow, what a welcome for our Yorkshire Rio Heroes,” Sir Gary said. “Tens of thousands of people lined the route around the city centre to cheer on our athletes and it really has been an event to go down in history.
“Yorkshire you really know how to party.”
Following the completion of the parade, all of the athletes received an invite to a special civic reception held at Leeds Civic Hall.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake, said: “We have been extremely fortunate to host some truly memorable occasions in Leeds, but to see so many people of all ages line the streets of the city centre to welcome home our Yorkshire Olympic and Paralympic Heroes tonight took our breath away.
“It really was fantastic to see the county’s athletes get the recognition they so fully deserve for their phenomenal success in Rio.
“I would like to thank all of them for finding the time in their extremely demanding and hectic schedules to attend the parade and of course the Yorkshire public, who once again proved why their support is amongst the very best in the world.”
Those present at the parade included:
Triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee who earned gold and silver medals respectively.
World, European and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE who won three golds in Rio.
Diver and gold medallist, Jack Laugher.
Paralympic Cycling Pilot double gold medallist, Adam Duggleby.
Paralympic swimmer, Jonathan Booth.
Bronze medal gymnast, Nile Wilson.
Rowing silver medallist, Zoe Lee.
Vicky Holland who won bronze in the triathlon.
Rowers Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom Ransley and Paul Bennett who all claimed gold.
Double Paralympic gold medallist, Kadeena Cox
Paralympic gold and silver medal cyclist David Stone MBE
Olympic boxer, Qais Ashfaq