VIDEO: Triumphant Return to Leek For Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Watkins
OLYMPIC gold medalist Anna Watkins returned to Leek for a triumphant homecoming this morning at Market Place.
Crowds of hundreds turned out to meet and greet the Olympic rower in what was a highly charged emotional event.
• GALLERY: Leek Gives Hero's Welcome to Anna Watkins
Anna Watkins was born and raised in Leek, a former resident of Longsdon and a pupil of Westwood College.
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She left Staffordshire at the age of 18, where she went to study at Oxford where she picked up the oars.
After winning a bronze medal in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, she won a gold medal in the double sculls rowing event alongside partner Katherine Grainger at London 2012.
Members of local community radio station, Moorlands Radio were on hand to generate applause and chants for Anna before she arrived.
At precisely 11am Anna arrived to Market Place in a prestine Rolls Royce that came courtesy of Moorlands Classic Cars.
Taking to the stage erected in the centre of the square, Anna was met by rapturous applause, enough to bring the Olympic champion to tears.
Anna Watkins speaks about her return to Leek.
Interviewed by Gary Shenton and councillor Sybil Ralphs, Anna proceeded into giving a very emotional speech about growing up in Leek and the support the town has given her.
"There is an African proverb that says that it takes a village to raise a child, for a lot of parts of the country I wouldn't say that is true but in Leek it really is true".
The Olympic champion then moved on to meet and greet crowds, posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Anna's mum, Caroline Watkins was on hand to watch her daughter's reception.
"I'm just immensely proud of her, this is just the most perfect day, a fantastic turnout as well!
After greeting so many fans, Anna once again boarded the Rolls Royce and was chauffered off to Moorlands House for a civic reception.
"Hundreds and hundreds of people lined the square to show their support for [Anna] and she certainly fully deserves it," says chief councillor Sybil Ralphs
"Although she is a household name now, she is still the same old Anna."
Anna's return to Leek brought home some of that grand Olympic glamour which began with the Olympic torch.
Most importantly it hammered the point home, that great things can come from anyone, specifically those willing to work hard towards it.
For most, it was a perfect end to a spectacular summer of sport.