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Open-top bus tour for Olympic sailing hero Ben Ainslie
SPORTING hero Ben Ainslie will tour his home town in an opentopped bus after becoming the most decorated sailor in Olympic history.
Thousands of people are expected to line the streets of Lymington to congratulate the 35-year-old athlete, who won his fourth gold medal at Weymouth last Sunday.
Ainslie – part of the most successful British Olympic team for more than a century – will make a triumphant tour of the town next month.
He is likely to be joined by at least two of the torchbearers who carried the Olympic flame through Lymington on July 14.
Lymington and Pennington Town Council is also planning to name a road after the recordbreaking sailor.
In a further tribute a specially inscribed block of Portland stone is due to be placed in a park overlooking the entrance to the Lymington River.
A special reception attended by about 400 people is also on the cards.
Lymington’s tribute to its Olympic hero is being organised by the town mayor, Councillor Jacqui England, who has known Ainslie for several years.
She said: “I’ve seen Ben out jogging in all weathers and one of the things I most admire about him is his grim determination to succeed. One gold medal is a great achievement in itself, but four is something else.”
Cllr England called for Ainslie to be given a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List.
Cllr Tony Swain added: “Ben’s record in the Olympics is absolutely marvellous – a silver medal followed by four golds is a unique achievement.
“He’s a role model for young people and I’d like to see children of all ages present when Lymington stages its celebrations.
“I believe Ben should be knighted but I’d also like him to receive a local honour – freeman of the town or something of that order.”
“I’m sure everyone in Lymington would want the opportunity to applaud his success and see it recognised.”