Olympian Sir Chris Hoy to be awarded freedom of Edinburgh

 

Britain's most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy was today awarded the freedom of his home city.

The six-time gold medal-winning cyclist joined other Olympians and Paralympians on an open-top bus parade through Edinburgh before attending a civic reception where he become part of an exclusive club that includes the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Sean Connery and Nelson Mandela who have received the freedom of the Scottish capital.

Sir Chris changed from his Olympic tracksuit that he wore on the bus parade into a traditional kilt for the private ceremony in the Assembly Rooms where he was presented with the honour by Edinburgh Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

He said: "I'm immensely proud, but this award is for all the people who have helped me through the years, from the little seven-year-old racing BMXs to racing for Olympic medals in London, it's been an amazing journey.

"It's quite hard to take it all in, it's an emotional day and one that I will never forget."

The parade is the third celebration Sir Chris has been part of in the last week but he said his home town parade was "more personal and emotional".

"It's very emotional to see just what it means to the public, in particular in your home town, to come back to Edinburgh, my home city, and get this kind of support on a day that's not been that kind to us weather-wise, it's just amazing.

"You can't really put it into words what it means but it's our chance to thank everybody for their support."

Sir Chris was joined on stage by his wife Sara to receive the freedom of the city and former rugby player Gavin Hastings paid tribute to his achievements.

Edinburgh city councillors unanimously voted last month to give the honour to the cyclist. It is granted to people who have distinguished themselves through their work or efforts, or to recognise the respect and high esteem in which they are held by the people of the city.

Sir Chris led the official celebrations for all of Scotland's Olympic and Paralympic athletes in Glasgow on Friday. A parade led more than 50 athletes into George Square where they were introduced one by one to a crowd of around 17,000.

Thousands again turned out in Edinburgh despite heavy rain and Sir Chris took time to sign autographs and talk to the crowd outside the City Chambers before boarding an open top bus that had been painted gold for the occasion.

Moira Duncan, 63, did not mind standing in the rain as she got to shake hands with Sir Chris before he left for the parade.

She said: "It's great to have another parade in Edinburgh 'cos it's where Chris is from and we all just want to let him know how proud we are of him. Imanaged to shake his hand and I just told him 'well done'.

"He's got plenty of medals already but it's nice that he can be given the freedom of the city as it comes from the people and it's not something you can win in a race."

Mark Jamieson, 27, also braved the weather to watch the parade, he said: "Chris Hoy is an absolute legend but I came along today to cheer on all the athletes. The Olympics were great and hopefully the enthusiasm that has built up around all different sports can continue.

Sir Chris was born in the Scottish capital in 1976 and was inspired to take up cycling after watching classic movie ET.

He raced BMX until he was 14-years-old, becoming Scottish Champion and ranking second in Britain and ninth in the world, but he turned his attention to track sprint cycling in 1992 and has never looked back.

Despite the rain the parade started around 2.15pm and took the sportsmen and women from the City Chambers on the Royal Mile to the Assembly Rooms via the Mound and Hanover Street where a post box was painted gold when the cyclist won his first medal of the London 2012 Games.

Meanwhile, a parade was also held in Aberdeen to celebrate Olympians and Paralympians from the north east of the country.

Gold medallists Tim Baillie, Katherine Grainger and Neil Fachie took part in the event this morning which started at a gold post box at the Castlegate in Aberdeen painted in honour of rower Grainger.

The parade was led by the Portlethen and District Pipe Band, followed by a team of torchbearers, Games Makers and volunteers.

Lord Provost George Adam said: "North east athletes have really done Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire proud this summer, regardless of whether or not they brought home medals, and the parade is a great way to publicly recognise their achievements and those of our army of torchbearers, volunteers and Games Makers."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Receptionist

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss