Sochi 2014 champion Lizzy Yarnold given hero's welcome
- 21 March 2014
- From the section Kent
Hundreds of people turned out to give Winter Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold a hero's welcome during an an open top bus parade in her honour.
The 25-year-old, from West Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks, won Great Britain's only gold medal at the Sochi Games in the women's skeleton.
Young and old turned out in Sevenoaks to cheer Yarnold as the union flag-decked Routemaster started its journey.
It then moved to Riverhead where crowds chanted "Lizzy, Lizzy".
Posed for selfies
After the bus travelled back to Sevenoaks she presented a student at Knole Academy with a sporting trophy and accepted a piece of artwork that had been made for her.
She also posed for selfies with some of the pupils.
"Before today my job was to get a gold medal," she told a cheering crowd.
"The best thing is seeing people like you because I know how much it means to everyone else.
"The gold medal was not just for me it was for everyone."
The bus also visited St Michael's School in Otford, where Yarnold was a pupil.
The school has been painting its gates gold in her honour and invited the Olympian to paint the last section.
Gold post box
The parade ended at West Kingsdown Primary School.
Carpenter Terry Malone, from West Kingsdown, made a gold post box from wood to celebrate Yarnold's win, which residents posted messages of congratulations into.
Mr Malone presented her with the post box after the parade.
Yarnold said: "It just takes your breath away because so many people are here and shouting my name.
"I didn't know that many people a few months ago.
"I had about 300 friends on Facebook and suddenly people know my name.
"That makes it for me. I don't want to sit at home polishing the medal at night.
"It's about going out and meeting people and showing them that they can achieve their dreams as well."
Her parents Judith and Clive and many of her friends were among those on the bus.
Mrs Yarnold said she hoped her daughter's achievement would inspire the next generation of British medal winners.
"I have been in tears seeing the little children singing," she said.
"It just means so much and it is lovely to see."
Peter Fleming, leader of Sevenoaks District Council, said: "Lizzy's hard work, drive and sacrifice to become an Olympic champion is an inspiration to us all."