London 2012: Olympic open-top bus victory parade to go ahead in September

One million expected to turn out to cheer Olympic heroes

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The Independent Online

London will welcome a star-studded open-top bus through its streets as record crowds pay tribute to the success of Team GB's Olympian athletes.

Millions of flag-waving supporters are expected to line the streets as 900 Olympians and Paralympians travel down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.

The date for the procession is Monday September 10 to hail the breathtaking achievements of athletes such as Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis.

The crowd is expected to dwarf previous parades for the Ashes win in 2005 and 2003 rugby World Cup victory.

Plans are “under consideration” for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who are all Team GB ambassadors, to take part.

Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, called on schools to let children have time off to come and see the parade.

He added: “It would be great to see millions on the streets. The public have been amazing. To celebrate is going to be very, very special. September 10 is going to be a good day.”

Hoy, who is Britain’s most decorated Olympian with six gold medals for cycling, captured the mood generated by the best British Games for a century.

He said: “It’s just been the most incredible time. The emotion now is a slow realisation of what the team has achieved, not just the cycling team, the whole team.

“We are looking across this beautiful park, with happy faces, flags waving. I could not have dreamt of anything better than this.” Princess Anne, president of the British Olympic Association, will also attend the event.

The provisional route for the parade is from Guildhall through the City and past Mansion House, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square through Admiralty Arch and down The Mall for a spectacular gathering in front of Buckingham Palace.

Britain is in third place in the medal table with 48 medals including 22 gold. Boris Johnson told the Standard: “If ever there was an excuse for a party, this is it. London will do our amazing 2012 Olympic team proud, with a celebration every bit as inspiring as the Games itself.” The Mayor added: “No one expected team GB to do quite as amazingly well as they have done.

“Not since 1908 has the country seen a gold rush like it.” David Cameron hailed the “golden summer”, adding: “It’s a great time to be British.” Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The athletes’ parade will be a fantastic finale to an incredible summer, and the one of the biggest parties London has seen.”

England’s Ashes heroes have previously had a reception laid on at No 10 after beating Australia. But Downing Street is too small for the Prime Minister to welcome the whole Olympic team so the Government is understood to be looking at a reception at the grandiose Lancaster House in St James’s.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are due to fly out on September 10 for a tour of Malaysia, Singapore, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. But Palace officials are examining whether they can be present for the procession before they depart.

Thousands of police officers will also line the streets for the parade which will mark Britain’s greatest gold medal tally since 1908 when far fewer countries competed at the top sporting level. The Queen will host a reception for Olympians and Paralympians later in the year. Kilburn-raised Wiggins is expected to be among Olympic heroes given knighthoods, with the Prime Minister having already made clear he is “very keen” to see this happen. Honours could also be bestowed on heptathlete Ennis, 10,000 metre runner Farah, as well as some of Britain’s rowing, cycling and equestrian gold medallists.

A British Olympic Association spokesman said: “We did a modest amount of work [on the parade] before the Games but there is much more work to be done on this. Every athlete involved in the Olympics and Paralympics will be invited to take part in the parade.”

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