Remember Becky’s homecoming parade?

08-1925-4''Rebecca Adlington parade
08-1925-4''Rebecca Adlington parade

DO you remember the night that golden girl Becky Adlington was welcomed home by thousands of people in Mansfield town centre after clinching double Olympic gold in the Beijing Olympics.

It was 26th August, 2008. The night that the Mansfield community gave its own salute to a swimming sensation.

Here’s our report from one of the most famous nights in Mansfield’s history.

THOUSANDS of people thronged Mansfield town centre for Tuesday evening’s open top bus parade by double Olympic gold medallist Becky Adlington.

The most successful British swimmer for 100 years arrived back in Mansfield late on Monday evening – and 24 hours later the community gave its own salute to the golden girl.

Shops and homes were decorated in Union Jacks as the town got ready for a big party.

And film crews from all the national TV stations swarmed around the town centre, interviewing excited locals.

As well as the thousands in Mansfield Market Place, many more lining the bus route from Mansfield Civic Centre - with reports saying between 10,000-15,000 people were at the parade.

The golden celebrations started a little earlier when Becky and her family were taken from their Ryedale Avenue home in a gold Rolls Royce to Mansfield Civic Centre.

There she received a pair of gold Jimmy Choo designer shoes from mayor Tony Egginton, ahead of the ‘welcome home’ parade. The 460 water snake shoes were promised as a gift at a civic send-off party for her.

The open top bus left Mansfield Civic Centre at around 6.30pm and wound its way along Chesterfield Road South, the inner ring road, Clumber Street and Leeming Street, before pulling into the Market Place for a celebration.

A giant TV screen was erected in the Market Place to show Becky’s two gold medal-winning performances in the 400m and world record breaking 800m freestyle finals at the Beijing Games — together with other Olympic action.

BBC’s East Midlands Today regional news programme broadcast live from the Market Place event, which included interviews with Becky on board the bus and a fireworks finale. The celebrations were also featured live on national BBC and ITV news.

Chad was in the Market Place throughout the event handing out free commemorative flags and goodie bags.

Two of the goody bags each contained a gold medal — with fantastic prizes donated by Curry’s, Mansfield, for the lucky winners.

Mr Egginton told Chad: “She has raised the profile of Mansfield and as an individual she is remarkable and a lovely young lady.

“This is our way of saying a tremendous well done to her and her family, and a big ‘welcome home’. We want as many people as possible to line the route and then come to the Market Place to cheer her on.

“To reach the very top of any sport requires years of hard work, focus and complete dedication - all traits which Rebecca has in abundance.

“What’s more this success couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl. Rebecca is a credit to herself, her family and Mansfield.

“Through the success of Rebecca we now have a golden opportunity to inspire even more of young people to go on and achieve success, whether it is in sport or other walks of life. This is what hard work can achieve.”

Following the event in the Market Place, there was a private, invitation-only party for the ‘golden girl’ at the Civic Centre – an event labelled ‘Becky’s Bash’ by mayor Tony Egginton and featuring the band from her former school, Brunts.

A more formal civic event, which will also mark the achievements of the town’s Paralympians, is planned for the end of September.