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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Holmes given hero's welcome
Kelly Holmes
Kelly Holmes showed her medals to the waiting crowds
An estimated 40,000 people turned out with bunting and banners to watch Olympic champion Kelly Holmes on her victory parade.

Double gold medal winner Holmes said she was overwhelmed by the support for her at the event on Wednesday.

Holmes travelled in an open top bus from her home in Hildenborough, Kent, on a route to Tonbridge High Street.

A civic reception at Tonbridge Castle topped off the day, to mark her gold medal wins in the 800m and 1500m.

I have always had this burning desire to be Olympic champion
Kelly Holmes

Speaking to the crowds at Tonbridge Castle, Holmes said: "This has been a long journey for me,

"It has taken me 20 years to achieve my dream - not once but twice.

"I have always had this burning desire to be Olympic champion.

"Through all the low points I just kept fighting and this now has made up for every single thing that has happened to me.

"I am overwhelmed - I thought it was bad enough being in an Olympic stadium with 60,000 people, but I heard about 40,000 people turned up today and that is unbelievable.

"I will never, ever forget this for as long as I live."

The bus in Tonbridge High Street
The bus made its way through Tonbridge High Street

The deputy mayor of Tonbridge and Malling Borough council, Derek Still, and other dignitaries gathered at the castle with Holmes' family and friends after the bus travelled down the packed High Street.

Three members of the crowd watching the parade were taken to hospital, Kent Ambulance Service said.

One person had fallen and the two others fainted, but all three have since been discharged.

Holmes, 34, recorded personal bests in both finals to become the first British runner to win two golds in one Olympics since 1920.

Jonathan Welbon, from Tonbridge Athletics Club, where Holmes first started training two decades ago said: "We are delighted.

"It has put a real buzz into the club. All the athletes and all the residents of Tonbridge and Hildenborough I am sure are delighted.

"There is nothing better than this and it really will carry us forward as a club for generations to come.

"It will, I am sure, bring lots more athletes down to our track."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Mary Rhodes
"For the crowd, this was a chance to celebrate a national hero on their doorstep"



SEE ALSO:
Holmes keeps on running
29 Aug 04  |  Athletics
Holmes' place in history
29 Aug 04  |  Athletics
Golden double for Holmes
28 Aug 04  |  Athletics
The real Holmes truth
28 Aug 04  |  Athletics
Holmes clinches brilliant gold
23 Aug 04  |  Athletics


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