Tayside and Central Scotland

Andy Murray walkabout: Fans turn out for Dunblane homecoming

Thousands of people have turned out on the streets of Dunblane to cheer on US Open champion and Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray.

Murray arrived in his hometown on an open-top bus before taking part in a walkabout to sign autographs and celebrate his summer of success.

The tennis ace said it was an "emotional" chance to meet friends, family and the local community.

Fans chanted Murray's name and cheered after waiting hours in wet weather.

Murray's mother Judy said she had been overwhelmed by the crowd reaction for her son's homecoming parade.

The 25-year-old champion's walkabout took him through the town - stopping at his golden Olympic postbox - before heading to the tennis courts.

He took part in a knockabout with children at the Dunblane Tennis Club, where his career began.

Fiona Benny, from the club, said: "The children were playing last night until about half-past-nine, practising just in case they get a hit with Andy."

After the day's events, Murray told BBC Scotland: "It was great, I've really, really enjoyed it. I had all my family here and a lot of friends from school and teachers who taught me - all sorts - my old tennis coaches. It was a great day, I'm really happy to have been part of it.

"These are the courts where I started playing and to come back now and see so many kids on them is unbelievable. They used to be very quiet when I was playing here so to see so many kids back on the court and enjoying it is great and I hope that stays the same."

He added: "Throughout my whole career the support I've had from back here at all times, in tough losses and hard moments and tough moments in my career, has always stayed the same and everyone kept believing in me, so that was important."

Cameron Reid-Thomas, 11, from Dunblane, was among those who waited to welcome the champion.

He said: "We're Andy's biggest fans, we all came here to see him and say well done. It's huge for all his fans to see him back here. He doesn't get back often because he's always training and playing tournaments."

Jonathan Beher, seven, from Dunblane, said: "Andy's my hero, I want to be just like him."

Stirling Provost Mike Robbins, who was Murray's host and delivered a welcome on behalf of the whole area, said: "It's always a pleasure to welcome him back, but this time, of course, it's extra, extra special.

"I visited local schools the morning after his US Open triumph, and everyone was just buzzing. The one thing the children wanted was the chance to say 'well done'."

Central Scotland Police said the event had been extremely busy from early in the day.

Stirling Area Commander Supt Gordon Dawson said Murray had asked for plenty of time to meet his fans so they worked closely with the council to plan a lengthy route.

More on this story