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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 February, 2005, 12:55 GMT
London pays tribute to MacArthur
Ellen MacArthur
Thousands of people have lined the Thames to pay tribute to Ellen MacArthur after her epic record-breaking round-the-world voyage.

MacArthur sailed along the Thames from Greenwich to Tower Bridge and back to thank fans who backed her bid.

The British sailor made it around the world alone on her boat B&Q, setting a new mark of 71 days and 14 hours.

"It is an incredible feeling to be here," she told a large crowd on a stage near the Cutty Sark.

"I did not know what to expect but to see so many people is fantastic and so heart-warming.

"It was nice to see the boat again. It was unbelievable to sail to Tower Bridge, as we approached it we could see more and more people.

"To come home after being so alone to get a reception like this is extraordinary. It is something you can't come to terms with.

"Thank you for everyone who came out for making it a dream."

After appearing on stage, MacArthur then went into the crowd and a signed autographs for some of the fans that had gathered in the cold.

After making her way through the crowd, the 28-year-old then appeared on the Cutty Sark.

It is hoped that MacArthur's achievement will boost London's attempt to land 2012 Olympics and the Briton has thrown her weight behind the bid.

"Sport is an amazing way to bring people together," she added. "It would be incredible to have the Olympics.

"It would be wonderful for London and Britain."

The trip to London on her 75 foot B&Q trimaran was also made for the Ellen MacArthur Trust, set up to support young people suffering from cancer and leukaemia.

"I choose to do what I do and I never forget that - it is me who decides to put my life at risk," she said.

"The kids that we sail with at the Trust do not choose their illness, but they deal with it with an amazing amount of courage and determination.

"It is the greatest honour for me to sail with them, it is truly humbling."

Interview: Dame Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur speaks to her fans in Greenwich


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