Wales

Cardiff honours Olympic and Paralympic heroes

Pam Evans, Karen O'Donoghue-Harris and Eric Whitlock
Image caption Torchbearers Pam Evans, Karen O'Donoghue-Harris and Eric Whitlock joined the crowd at the Olympic and Paralympic homecoming parade

Torchbearers and volunteers from the 2012 Games have been among fans honouring Wales' Olympic and Paralympic heroes at a homecoming parade.

Crowds gathered in a breezy Cardiff Bay to watch about 40 of the 68 London 2012 Games athletes gather at the Senedd.

They were there to applaud athletes such as Tom James and Jade Jones and Paralympic champions Mark Colbourne, Aled Davies and Josie Pearson.

The athletes were welcomed on stage to the delight of the crowd.

Dozens of fans took the opportunity to take pictures of the athletes as they waited to go on stage

Taekwondo gold medal winner Jade Jones was in high demand and happily waved to the crowd.

Support staff and coaches also received a warm welcome.

Anthony Hughes coached Paralympian Gold medallists Aled Davies and Josie Pearson.

"I'm still trying to come down from this high," he said.

"The Welsh public are incredible - you see them all over the world."

Torchbearers Pam Evans and Karen O'Donoghue-Harris were at the event.

Ms Evans, from Merthyr Tydfil, who carried the Olympic flame in Treorchy, said: "It was an amazing experience and I'm still experiencing it now.

"I've tried to go around to as many events as I can and I've been to so many places."

The Abergavenny Borough Band got the crowd warmed-up and singing the Tom Jones hit Delilah.

Image caption Wendy Randle and Angi Yetemenko travelled from Llanelli to watch

Among the crowd, Ms O'Donoghue-Harris, from Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan, ran with the flame in Barry.

"It was a surprise to see so many people come out," she added.

"The torch has taken pride of place in the front room."

Eric Whitlock carried the torch in Pontypool but was also a Games Maker at the Olympic Park.

"I was part of the medical team at the hockey centre," he said.

"It was a real honour and privilege to be asked to do it and be part of it."

Games Makers and torchbearers had been encouraged to go to the event in their uniforms and many torchbearers proudly carried their torches.

Wendy Randle and Angi Yetemenko had travelled from Llanelli in Carmarthenshire to watch.

"They have been a brilliant Games - absolutely fantastic," said Ms Yetemenko.

Ms Randle added: "We couldn't go to London to see it but when we heard it was here we came along to see the athletes."

Image caption Louise and David Baynham, from Pencoed near Bridgend, with daughters Ella and Grace

Makala Doughty, from Milford Haven, gathered with children Jack, nine, and seven-year-old Katie.

"We've come to say well done," said Ms Doughty.

"We saw football in Manchester and went to London but we didn't get tickets so we watched it on the big screens by Tower Bridge."

Gareth and Rebecca John, from Cardiff, brought daughter Medi, four, and son Steffan, two, to soak up the atmosphere.

Mr John said: "I missed getting tickets for the Olympics so this is the next best thing.

"I thought the Welsh athletes were brilliant."

During the event, performers from the Cultural Olympiad in Wales are performing along with Abergavenny Borough Brass Band, the Celtic Cafe ensemble of traditional musicians and Ebbw Vale male choir.

The Ebbw Vale male voice choir were the first to sing to the crowd before Abergavenny Borough band took to the steps of the Senedd.

Composer Lloyd Coleman, 19, who played clarinet in the British Paraorchestra alongside Coldplay in the Paralympics closing ceremony, will also perform.

Welsh assembly Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler and First Minister Carwyn Jones addressed the crowd before gold ticker tape was set off.

The event ended with the British and Welsh national anthems being sung by the crowds.

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