IT was with enormous pleasure and pride that I along with the many thousands of Mansfield residents, my wife and I witnessed and were part of Rebecca Adlington's homecoming and grand tour of the town centre last Tuesday.
It was a truly magical experience and one that must boost the spirits of a community in regular receipt of bad news and publicity on account of its crime, drugs and problems of antisocial behaviour.
We walked down from the Civic Centre to the Market Place. It was packed and the atmosphere electric long before Rebecca and her lovely family arrived on the very slow moving open top bus. The activities were so superbly stage managed by BBC television and Radio Nottingham that we all knew we were in for a wonderful celebration. As the noise from the crowds ascended and from where we were standing, I became very emotional and quiet for a few minutes.