Nottingham

Paralympian Richard Whitehead tours in open-top bus

Paralympian gold medallist Richard Whitehead has been on an open-top bus tour of Nottinghamshire in recognition of his achievements at London 2012.

The 36-year-old athlete, who runs on blades, won gold in the 200m T42 final, breaking his own world record.

The bus left BBC Nottingham earlier and visited Lowdham, Radcliffe-on-Trent, West Bridgford, County Hall and Old Market Square.

A postbox has been painted gold in Mr Whitehead's honour in Lowdham village.

The runner crossed the line in 24.38 seconds to break his own world record in the 200m final. He also made the final of the 100m T42.

Whitehead said during the tour: "I'm a bit speechless. That's a first for me. It's great to see so many friendly faces. I did the easy job really, just running 200m.

"For everybody to come out here and give their time for me it's overwhelming and I'm glad I can share this perience with everybody.

"I think Nottingham is really embracing sport and for Paralympic sport to be on a par with Olympic athletes is great."It gives me a great opportunity to give something back to Lowdham."

Later on the tour, organised by BBC Radio Nottingham, the Paralympian went to County Hall at 10:45 BST to meet dignitaries including Nottinghamshire County Council Leader Kay Cutts.

He was greeted in Old Market Square by Nottingham City Council Sheriff Merlita Bryan.

Whitehead, a former teacher, said he had seen lots of children out of school.

"Hopefully they are going to make up that time over lunch," he said.

"Someone did say to me this is the next generation of Richard Whiteheads so it's important athletes take responsibility for being role models."

Mrs Cutts said: "Richard Whitehead is a fantastic ambassador for us all following his fantastic performances at London 2012.

"It will be wonderful to share in the celebrations of his success as a community."

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