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Huge turn-out for Team GB parade through Manchester

Huge turn-out for Team GB parade through Manchester
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Ticker tape fills the air as members of Team GB celebrate on stage outside Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square

Over 150,000 people packed the streets of Manchester on Monday afternoon to watch Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams parade through the city.

The event was held to commemorate the remarkable performances of the British athletes in Rio over the summer.

The parade, which will be followed by a second celebratory event in London on Tuesday, wound its way through the streets, led in the first float by a sculpted lion painted in the colours of the Union Jack and holding an Olympic torch in one of its paws.

Double gold medal-winning gymnast Max Whitlock keeps the crowd entertained

Around 400 members of the British teams were in attendance, including retired athletics great Jessica Ennis-Hill, boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams and the Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonny, who took gold and silver respectively in the triathlon.

Team GB and The Paralympics GB squad both finished runners-up in their respective medals tables after producing record-breaking performances.

Team GB included 27 golds among their medal total of 67, two more than from London 2012, as they enjoyed their best-ever overseas Games.

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And the Paralympics GB squad garnered an amazing 147 medals, including 64 golds.

The parade ended at the Town Hall and the athletes were greeted in Albert Square by band the Kaiser Chiefs, who stepped in when Olly Murs had to withdraw at the last minute.

The town hall was emblazoned with an ‘Olympic Heroes’ banner and Prime Minister Theresa May was on hand to pay tribute to the athletes.

“Time after time the nation came to a halt, as you wrote your names into the history books,” May said. “Armies of armchair fans stayed up late to follow your progress every night, watching in awe and filled with pride.

“So it is absolutely right that we should take this moment as a nation to say an enormous and heartfelt thank you.

“Those cold, dark mornings, those intense training sessions, the years of sacrifice and the unwavering commitment to your passion and your profession is an inspiration to us all.”

Hockey gold medallist Maddie Hinch had a Dutch airline to thank for flying her back in time to make the celebration parade.

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The Team GB goalkeeper posted an impassioned plea on Twitter to get her back to Britain, after her flight home from Amsterdam on Monday was cancelled, and KLM Airlines responded by booking her on one of their routes to Manchester.

Hinch was grateful that there was no grudge held towards her from the people of Holland after her superb display in the Olympic final penalty shoot-out denied the Dutch a third successive women’s hockey gold.

“My flight was cancelled, a flat tyre on the plane,” said Hinch. “It was a bit of a nightmare to make sure I got here in time but thankfully I got it all sorted.

Dame Sarah Storey is Britain’s most successful Paralympian of the modern era

“I put something on Twitter in pure anger and then it went a bit mad and everyone started trying to help me get to Manchester. KLM Airlines heard and they got me through real quick.

“They are not holding the gold medal against me too much over there so that’s good. It’s very ironic that the Dutch came to the rescue!”

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