Ellie Simmonds: Walsall honours Paralympian swimmer

Ellie Simmonds: "It's amazing, the reception I've had"

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Thousands of people have lined the streets of double gold medal-winning Paralympian Ellie Simmonds' home town of Walsall to celebrate her success.

More than 200 people gathered at her gold postbox on Aldridge High Street for a glimpse of the swimmer.

The 17-year-old then officially opened a swimming pool which has been named after her at Cooper and Jordan C of E School, where she used to be a pupil.

This was followed by an open top bus tour to Walsall town hall.

More than a thousand people gathered outside the town hall to welcome Simmonds as she got off the bus.

Speaking to the crowds she said: "The home crowd has been such a big advantage. Thank you and thank you for turning up."

At the scene

Hundreds of people gathered on Aldridge High Street to send off Paralympian Ellie Simmonds on her home coming parade, many of them wearing Team GB colours and waving union jacks.

Almost an hour later, thousands welcomed her to Walsall town hall with dozens of school children chanting "Ellie" as she arrived.

Like Jessica Ennis, Ellie Simmonds was one of the poster girls of the London 2012 Games.

She did not disappoint, winning two gold medals and breaking a world record.

At Walsall, Ellie thanked everyone for turning out and the emotion seemed to get the better of her just for a moment, but the crowds cheered and if she did not know it before, they showed that she was a superstar.

"To have all the support of everyone, from my family, my friends and all these people out here today who have come out and supported me all the way through the games, it's been good," she added.

'A legend'

Kathryn Smith, who was among the crowds on Aldridge High Street, said: "I'm a child minder and I've brought three little ones here to inspire. My children go to the same school as Ellie used to and they all think that she is a legend, a superstar."

Marilyn Melvin said: "My granddaughter, also called Ellie, has been keeping a scrapbook and has managed to get hold of a few more photos today."

Elsie Broadbent, who said she saw some of the athletics at the Olympic Games, added: "The atmosphere was wonderful but I couldn't get hold of Paralympics tickets for love or money, but I watched it all on the TV.

Ellie Simmonds and her gold postbox on Aldridge High Street Ellie Simmonds visited her gold postbox on Aldridge High Street

"Ellie's been outstanding, she's a local lass and to see her doing what she does is phenomenal."

In the afternoon Simmonds took part in a question and answer session at the town hall with pupils from local schools.

Simmonds won two golds, in the 200m SM6 individual medley and S6 400m freestyle, a silver in the S6 100m freestyle and a bronze in the S6 100m freestyle.

She relocated with her mother to Swansea at the age of 11 so she could train in an Olympic size 50-metre pool.

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