Manchester will welcome home our Olympic and Paralympic heroes


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.

(Paul Gilham/PA)
London has hostes the last three Olympic homecoming parades (Paul Gilham/PA)

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 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.

(Dave Thompson/PA)
Manchester beat Leeds and Leicester to host the parade (Dave Thompson/PA)

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."

 (Dave Howarth/PA)
Olympians Great Britain's (left-right) Joanna Rowsell Shand, Ed Clancy, Jason Kenny, Steven Burke arrive back from Rio into Manchester Airport (Dave Howarth/PA)

Andy Burnham MP, Labour's candidate for mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "As the home of British cycling, Manchester has been at the heart of Team GB's success over three Olympic and Paralympic cycles.

"Given that so many British medals have been made in Manchester, it is right that the city is playing host to what will be an unforgettable occasion, particularly for young people across the north."