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Sir Ben Ainslie given freedom of Lymington in special ceremony
Sir Ben, 36, received the accolade at a special meeting of Lymington and Pennington Town Council, which praised his outstanding record of success in his chosen sport.
The mayor, Cllr Anna Rostand, told him: “Your contribution to sailing is second to none. For young people you are an inspiration.”
Sir Ben, who has lived in Lymington since moving there from Cornwall in 1996, said it was a huge honour to receive the freedom of the place he called home.
Acknowledging his legion of supporters in the town he said: “It makes a huge difference knowing there are so many people out there supporting you.”
Sir Ben also spoke of his dream of leading a British team to victory in the America's Cup.
Asked about his hopes of raising a successful squad he said: “I'm optimistic but having said that it's a huge challenge.”
The ceremony was attended by more than 100 people including his parents, Roderick and Susan Ainslie, and his sister, Fleur Pels, who also lives in the area.
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