Manchester to stage homecoming parade for Olympic stars


Manchester is to stage a homecoming parade for Britain's triumphant Olympic and Paralympic stars, with a further national event to be held in London to mark their success, Theresa May has announced.

The Prime Minister said that both events would take place in October after the Paralympians have returned from the games in Rio.

"It will be a celebration fit for heroes - and rightly so, because that is exactly what they are," Mrs May said.

The decision to stage the main parade in Manchester follows calls for it to be held outside the capital to reflect the contribution made by athletes from across the UK.

Previously, Britain's Olympians and Paralympians paraded through the streets of London after the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

The choice of Manchester will come as a disappointment to Leeds and Leicester which had both staked a claim to host the festivities.

However Manchester City Council deputy leader Sue Murphy said the city had been a "medal factory" turning out golds from the National Cycling Centre and Velodrome - where Jason Kenny and Laura Trott trained - as well as being the home of British British Taekwondo.

"On behalf of the whole of Manchester, we couldn't be more thrilled to host the national parade for our Olympic and Paralympic heroes. We will be sure to show our athletes the meaning of celebration," she said.

"The city has been a medal factory, pumping out golds as the home of British Cycling and British Taekwondo. It's fantastic to see the product of years of hard work and training at the centres of excellence in east Manchester.

The Government is now working with the British Olympic Association (BOA), British Paralympic Association (BPA), Manchester City Council and The Mayor Of London's Office on organising the events.

Mrs May said: "For the past fortnight, the people of the United Kingdom have been filled with pride as we've watched our Olympians take victory in so many sports with power, grace and control.

"In every discipline and at every stage, Team GB have shown the world what we're made of: determination, dignity and true sportsmanship.

"They haven't just made history; by showing just how far talent and hard work can take you, they have inspired the next generation.

"They have also shown the importance of supporting elite sport and that is something this Government remains wholly committed to."

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was "delighted" there would be a further event in the capital to mark the achievements of Britain's competitors.

"Our athletes have performed heroics in Rio and their exploits have gripped the entire nation," he said.

"My team will continue to work with the Government and sports chiefs to help develop plans for wonderful celebrations."

Earlier, Labour's former sports minister Richard Caborn urged Mrs May to create a day when the Olympic team is recognised across the country.

He told the Press Association: "We don't want a bloody parade around London for American tourists, that's all it's going to be; we want it for the nation."