OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS HOMECOMING

I have been sent the information below from the Leader of Leeds City Council, as soon as I have further details I will publish them here.

“Sunday 21st August saw the culmination of a historically successful Olympic Games for Team GB, finishing an astonishing second on the medal table with 27 gold medals and 67 in total and becoming the first nation ever to improve its medal haul following a ‘home’ games. Even more pleasing is the enormous role played by sports women and men from Leeds and Yorkshire in contribution to the nation’s achievements.

There are too many names to mention them all here, but the golds for Leeds athletes Alistair Brownlee in triathlon, Nicola Adams in boxing, Paul Bennett in rowing and Jack Laugher and Chris Mears in diving were undoubtedly some of the greatest highlights of the entire games.  Their success is a testament to their hard work, dedication and talent and they, along with all of our other local athletes, continue to be shining role models and ambassadors for our city. It’s important also to pay tribute to the coaches and support staff, based here in our city, who enable the athletes to exceed our expectations again and again. Watching these past two weeks it was impossible not the feel an immense pride and hope for the future that more success is yet to come from athletes training at John Charles, in our parks and all the other sporting venues across Leeds.

As you will no doubt be aware the Government has announced that official homecoming parades will be held in London and Manchester. Clearly this is disappointing news as we all know that Leeds and the city’s people would have provided a very special welcome for the whole team. Our track record is an impressive one and having successfully put on major events like the Tour de France and World Triathlon Series no one can deny we have the ambition and expertise to put on a fantastic show for the world’s media. We received a call from Whitehall late on Thursday afternoon and gave an enthusiastic “yes” when they asked if we would like to host the event, only for the announcement about Manchester and London to emerge early on Friday afternoon.  

Nevertheless, I hope you agree that we need to make sure our city’s athletes are celebrated locally. Therefore we are working to put together a homecoming parade in Leeds for all of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes to recognise and appreciate their wonderful achievements. The parade will culminate in a civic reception which we are working with the Lord Mayor on. We are also in discussion with colleagues across Yorkshire about widening the celebration to bring the whole county together here in the city.

The date and further details are yet to be confirmed and it certainly won’t be before the end of the Paralympics in mid-September.  I will let you have more information as soon as we have firm details.”