Crowds come out to cheer London 2012 heroes

Tim Baillie signs autographs for fans in Westhill.
Tim Baillie signs autographs for fans in Westhill.

Thousands of people turned out to cheer the North-east’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes on Sunday.

Westhill canoeist Tim Baillie received a rapturous welcome in his home town as he showed off his Olympic gold medal alongside his matching postbox.

Aberdeen rower Katherine Grainger and Paralympic cyclist Neil Fachie earlier posed with their own post boxes in the city as the parade kicked off on Union Street. They were joined by swimmers Hannah Miley and Robbie Renwick and Lora Tunham, a fellow Paralympic cyclist.

The local heroes ended the day with a reception at Haddo House, near Ellon.

Mr Baillie, who won gold in the Men’s Canoe C2 Slalom with partner Etienne Stott, said: “I am running out of words to say about everything that is going on. The whole Olympics have been a whirlwind experience.

“It is such an honour to be up here with a sporting hero like Kath and also with Neil and Lora who both did so well at the Paralympics. I have half an eye on Rio but it is tough to say until you get back in the boat and see if you still have the stomach for it.”

Aberdeenshire Provost Jill Webster said: “I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers, games makers and officials who contributed to the Olympics and Paralympics who made the event a massive success.

“We were also joined at Haddo by some of the 80 officers from Grampian Police who travelled to London to provide additional policing support throughout the course of the games.”

West Aberdeenshire MP Sir Robert Smith added: “It was great to see the enthusiastic turnout to great the Olympians on their arrival in Westhill. I want to thank the athletes for the inspiration they have given and for taking the time to involve the community in celebrating such a successful games.”