Swimming star Stephanie Millward was given a hero’s welcome at a homecoming at Corsham’s Springfield Leis-ure Centre on Monday .
A crowd of 400 people came to support the Paralympian, who won four silver medals and one bronze in the pool at London’s Aquatics Centre.
The former Corsham School student, who turned 31 yesterday, was presented with flowers by Corsham Town Council chairman Peter Anstey, before spending hours signing autographs and posing for pictures with the town’s residents.
She said: “The reception has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful. There have been people waiting here for half-an-hour just to get a signature. It is just amazing.”
The swimmer, who has multiple sclerosis, celebrated her birthday in Swansea, where she lived while training for the Games.
She will return to Wilt-shire on Tuesday, ahead of moving to Combe Down to be near to her new training camp in Bath.
During Monday’s event, the Paralympian, who was on the edge of being part of Team GB at the Sydney 2000 Games before being diagnosed with MS, passed her medals out into the crowd for people to wear.
She said: “I have always been inspired by the people around me and tonight is about saying thank you to everyone who has supported me.”
This week she has visited schools in the Corsham area and hopes her achievements will fuel the dreams of Wiltshire’s future Olympians and Paralympians. Fiancee Adrian McHugh, whom she will marry next May, was delighted with the size of the crowd.
Mr McHugh, who lives in Corsham, said: “Most athletes who win something cherish it as just for them, but Stephanie is not like that. She wants people to touch the medals and be inspired.”
Corsham Town Council wants to continue celebrating the success and will be discussing awarding her the freedom of the town at a special debate before October’s town council meeting.
Councillor Anstey said: “We have all got used to watching her doing the town proud during the Paraly-mpics and her medal tally is quite magnificent.”