Huge crowds pay tribute to Ashes heroes

Cheering crowds packed streets throughout the city to hail captain Michael Vaughan and his team as they toured in an open-topped bus.

The victory route from east London to Trafalgar Square was choked with ecstatic supporters - many of whom had abandoned work for the day - as a nation starved of sporting success finally lauded a team of world beaters.

Fans' favourite Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff, who was named man of the series, was greeted with special adulation as he appeared on the double decker looking worse for wear after a night of celebration. With him on the bus was his glamorous wife Rachael and their daughter, Holly.

Vaughan, tired after a long night toasting the team's success, held aloft a replica of the famous Ashes urn between finger and thumb while his team-mates slugged glasses of champagne and waved to the adoring crowds.

His voice still hoarse, Vaughan said: "It's great for the country and great that we have made so many people happy.

"It's been a privilege to captain 10 and 11 players who have worked so hard."

The captain told Sky News: "To see a turn-out like this for cricket shows what this summer has been all about.

"We have been trying to win back the Ashes for a very long time and this team has managed to do it through a lot of hard work and a lot of talent."

Some onlookers estimated 100,000 fans had crammed into Trafalgar Square - scores clambering into the fountains to secure a place.

The crowd broke into wild chants and screams as the team arrived, evoking memories of the rapturous receptions given to the England's 1966 World Cup Winners and 2003 Rugby World Cup victors.

As the players were presented to the vast crowd, Vaughan said: "This is incredible."

Flintoff, shielding his eyes with shades and looking happily dishevelled, said: "It's been a great series."

The all-rounder then admitted: "To be honest with you I'm struggling, I've not been to bed yet and the eyes behind these glasses tell a thousand stories.

"It's been a marathon for the last five weeks, a mammoth series and an emotional roller-coaster we've been through. We've come out on top and we're enjoying it."

Spin bowler Ashley Giles said: "We've seen the rugby boys do this and the footballers, now it's our turn and we deserve it."

Dressed in identical dark blue suits and striped ties, the players were accompanied by their wives, partners and children on their parade.

Vice captain Marcus Trescothick refused to bask in the adulation, revealing the determination which has driven the team to success.

He said: "We have to work very hard now or things will come crashing down next time we go out."

Asked if England could claim to be the best side in the world, he added: "I wouldn't say that right now. There are some good teams out there, we just have to keep working hard."

Vaughan became the first Englishman to hold aloft the 4in high terracotta urn in 18 years after his side's 2-1 series win over their fiercest rivals.

It was sealed with a draw yesterday, after a fittingly dramatic day - which saw individual brilliance from batsman Kevin Pietersen.

With a skunk-like peroxide streak through his dark hair, the player dazzled with the bat yesterday - smashing 158 crucial runs and a record seven sixes in an innings - and with his ears adorned with £50,000 jewels fashioned in the shape of cricket balls.

On the double-decker parade bus, he said: "I think the boys have just got to celebrate this today. It's been a long time since we've had the Ashes and it's hats off to everyone who was involved."

The Queen hailed the team's "magnificent achievement" and Prime Minister Tony Blair told the players they "lit up the whole summer".

Engineer Simon Carlyon, 30, had travelled from Colchester in Essex to welcome the team in Trafalgar Square.

He said: "Unlike the footballers, they showed real heart - more spirit than anyone. They played for England and not for the money."

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links