Celebration – and possibly freedom of town – for top Paralympian Stephanie Millward (From This Is Wiltshire)
Celebration – and possibly freedom of town – for top Paralympian Stephanie Millward
Paralympic Games hero Stephanie Millward has returned to Corsham where the town council plans to honour her sterling silver achievements with a homecoming event.
The celebration will take place at Springfield Leisure Centre, Beechfield Road, on Monday at 6pm.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the celebration, paying tribute to the swimmer who won four silver medals and one bronze at the Aquatics Centre in London to become one of Team GB’s most successful athletes across this summer’s Paralympic and Olympic Games.
The 30-year-old former Corsham School student, who has multiple sclerosis, was one of 800 proud Paralympic and Olympic athletes who took part in a parade, on Monday, through the streets of London in front of a crowd of around one million people.
She said: “That was just a once-in-a-lifetime thing and the crowd were absolutely incredible because people were hanging from anywhere they could to cheer us around London.”
Miss Millward, who trained in Swansea in preparation for the Games, is excited to meet everyone who supported her throughout her career, which started at Corsham Swimming Club.
She said: “I really just can’t wait to see everyone. I’ve been asked to go to the local schools and that is something I really want to do. Hopefully, I can inspire the next generation as I could just imagine myself being sat there as the student being spurred on to try and achieve something.”
The swimmer, who is engaged to marry Adrian McHugh, from Corsham, next year, received dozens of messages on her online social media accounts and said the support gave her a welcome boost.
During Monday’s Corsham Town Council meeting, the councillors were full of praise for the swimmer’s success.
Council chairman Peter Anstey said: “We want to recognise her great achievements in the town and one suggestion is offering her freedom of Corsham which would be much deserved.”
A special meeting is set to take place before Corsham Town Council’s October meeting where councillors are expected to award the swimmer with the accolade.
Town councillors are also considering the idea of installing a plaque honouring Miss Millward in the town’s new campus, which will open next year, asking her to switch on the Christmas lights.
Town councillor Peter Davis also suggested contacting Royal Mail to see if a post box in the town could be painted silver.
Town clerk Dave Martin said: “The freedom of the town is very likely to happen, then we’ll sort out an event to celebrate that and we’ll also make an inquiry with Royal Mail to see if we can have a silver post box.
“Considering she ended up with so many silvers, it would be quite nice if it could happen.”
Miss Millward said it was overwhelming hearing how eager the town council was to congratulate her.
She said: “That is such an incredible thing for them to do, if I get awarded freedom of the town. If I got a post box in silver that would just cap it.”
Miss Millward is looking ahead to the Rio Paralympics in 2016, and will soon be moving to Combe Down so she can be close to her new training camp in Bath.
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