Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Jessica Ennis given freedom of Sheffield

Jessica Ennis in Sheffield on 17/8/12
Image caption Thousands of people gathered in Sheffield city centre to welcome home Olympic champion Jessica Ennis last August.

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis has been officially granted the freedom of her home city of Sheffield.

The 27-year-old heptathlete was honoured at a ceremony on Wednesday hosted by Lord Mayor John Campbell.

She was watched by family, friends and civic dignitaries as she signed the scroll granting her the honour.

Ennis said: "To become a freeman of Sheffield is the biggest civic honour anyone can get and I'm so proud to receive it."

She joins other sporting heroes including fellow athlete Lord Coe and cricketer Michael Vaughan as Sheffield freemen.

Ennis said: "Winning the Olympics in Britain has exceeded everything I could have ever wished for and the reception I have received from my home city has been unbelievable.

"I have to say a big thank you to the people of Sheffield who have believed in me and backed me over the years."

'Amazing sportswoman'

Mr Campbell said: "Becoming a freeman of Sheffield is the highest civic honour we can display and Jessica truly deserves it.

"Jessica is an amazing sportswoman, with incredible success and worldwide appeal.

"For this alone she is worthy of receiving the freedom of the city, but let's not forget the other things she does in Sheffield.

"A patron of two charities that mean so much to the people of Sheffield - the Children's Hospital and Weston Park charities. Her support helps them raise so much for their causes."

Ennis, who was born in Sheffield, went to school and university in the city and continues to live and train there.

Earlier this month, the city council decided the Don Valley Stadium, where Ennis trained, was to be demolished as part of cost-saving measures.

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