Paralympic star Stephanie Millward gets freedom of Corsham
Paralympic champion Stephanie Millward has been given the freedom of Corsham.
Hundreds turned out and lined the High Street to watch the swimmer receive the honour.
The Team GB member won five medals at London 2012, and is well known in Corsham for her work with local young people, visiting schools and helping at Corsham Amateur Swimming Club.
The 31-year-old led a parade through Corsham accompanied by local school children before being presented with a scroll and an engraved salver by Corsham Town Council.
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She said: “I can’t stop smiling. It’s an honour to receive this - I wasn’t expecting it at all. I like helping people and working with young people. I do it because I enjoy it I didn’t expect anything in return but to receive this gift from the town is fantastic.
“I’m still buzzing from the Paralympics but this is so special. It’s lovely to know that I had all this support while I was competing, which I didn’t realise at the time.”
Despite scooping four silvers and one bronze medal at last year’s Paralympic Games Stephanie said her focus was now on Rio 2016.
She said: “I’m hopefully going to Rio because I need a gold medal - I have bronze and silver but no gold.”
Pupils from Corsham Regis Primary School, The Corsham School, Heywood Prep, Neston Primary School and Corsham Primary School all took part in the special parade and joined together for a street performance to celebrate the occasion.
Genevieve Murray, 8, who attends Corsham Regis, said: “I think she was very good at swimming and I think today is great.”
Elena Bateman, 14 from The Corsham School, said: “I think it’s really good she’s been given this award for her achievements. She’s getting everyone excited about sport too, which is a bonus.”
Mother-of-four Andrea Unwin, from Corsham, said Stephanie was an inspiration. Mrs Unwin’s two daughters Nesta, 13, and Lizzie, 10, both attend the swimming club where Stephanie helps.
Mrs Unwin said: “We were lucky to actually go to London and watch her swim last summer which was great. She’s always up at the swimming club and winning all those medals has inspired the girls. Today is great and brings the town together.”
To mark the occasion Corsham butchers Thomas’s created a special sausage recipe and named it the Stephanie Millward Sausage. The sausage flavour included mild Korma sauce, coconut and coriander.
Assistant manager Peter John said: “She’s getting the freedom of the town and we thought this would be a fun way to celebrate it. Stephanie suggested some ingredients she liked, we came up with six flavours and she came in to try them and then picked her favourite.”
This is the first time Corsham has presented anyone with the freedom of the town.
Town council chairman, Councillor Peter Anstey, said: “It’s not only her sporting achievements it’s her commitment to our local community that makes her an outstanding person.
“It’s the first time we’ve granted freedom of the town to an individual - it’s a truly unique occasion.”