Celebrations are taking place in West Yorkshire for stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
A public celebration is being held in Millenium Square, Leeds at lunchtime for wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft, cyclist David Stone MBE, swimmer Claire Cashmore and powerlifter Ali Jawad.
Wheelchair racer 'Hurricane Hannah' Cockroft emerged as one of the stars of the Games, stunning the crowd in the Olympic Stadium with her speed as she broke the Paralympic record to win the women's T34 100 metres. The 20-year-old from Halifax, who trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Athletics Club, then repeated the feat in the 200 metres to secure the sprint double and two gold medals in her first Paralympic Games.
Also claiming gold was Rawdon resident David Stone MBE, who successfully defended his T 1-2 mixed road race cycling title from Beijing 2008 to make up for his slight disappointment days earlier when he took bronze in the time trial event at the iconic Brands Hatch motor racing circuit.
City of Leeds swimmer Claire Cashmore, who trains at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport, took on a punishing race schedule competing in six different events in her third Paralympic Games. The 24-year-old won silver in the women's SB8 100m breaststroke and bronze in the women's 4x100m 34 points freestyle relay, before being part of the silver medal-winning 4x100m 34 points medley relay team which provided one of the most thrilling finishes seen at the Games as Great Britain were pipped to gold by Australia by just 0.03 of a second.
Powerlifter Ali Jawad was unfortunately one of the hard-luck stories of London 2012, as the 23-year-old who is based at the Team GB High Performance Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University thought he had done enough to secure a silver medal in the men's 56kg event. However, the judges failed to unanimously approve his final lift and after an appeal he was given the chance to try again. Unfortunately he was unable to complete the lift and was left to finish in fourth place, narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
– Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle
We are really looking forward to welcoming back our Paralympics athletes to Leeds and it would be great to have a big crowd on Millennium Square to honour them and say well done.
Like the Olympics before it, the Paralympics were an amazing spectacle which captivated the nation and this event offers the perfect way to mark a great Games and for everyone to say a final farewell to the sensational few weeks of London 2012 which none of us will ever forget.
Later in the day double gold medallist Hannah will also receive further honour at homecoming celebration in her hometown of Halifax. She is set to become a Freewoman of the Borough. A civic reception is being held at the Piece Hall from 4:30pm when comedian, after dinner speaker and comedy writer, Pete Emmett will interview people who have played an important role in Hannah's life, including her former primary school Headteacher, her former sports teacher and her coaches.