Hundreds turn out in North Walsham to welcome victorious Euro 2022 Lioness Lauren Hemp

  • Rob Setchell spoke to Lauren Hemp as she returned to North Walsham.

Hundreds of people turned out to welcome a homecoming hero as Lioness Lauren Hemp returned to her home town.

Hemp was an integral member of the England women's team which won the Euro 2022 title at Wembley on Sunday.

The winger, 21, supplied the ball which eventually led to Chloe Kelly scoring a dramatic extra-time winner against Germany.

On Friday she swapped celebrations in Trafalgar Square, for the town square in North Walsham and she was stunned by the turnout.

The England players sing Sweet Caroline at celebrations in London Credit: PA Images

"It was only organised yesterday, so it's incredible to see the support," she told ITV Anglia.

"It doesn't go unnoticed and I'm so grateful for all the support over the last few weeks, not only from this town, this city but from all over the country.

"It's a little surreal because I still remember myself as a little girl, walking through the town with my nan, going to get some groceries and to be here in front of all these people is incredible!"

Youngsters from her former football club, North Walsham Angels FC, also turned out to cheer her and Hemp said she hoped the England team had been a real inspiration .

England's Lionesses lift the trophy after winning the Euro 2022 final. Credit: AP

"It's incredible to see so many young girls and boys here watching women's football and thinking it's pretty decent. It's important we get more people into it to keep it growing," she said.

"Winning the gold medal with England is just unbelievable and something that every girl wants to dream of, and I dreamt of it as a young girl in North Walsham... somehow I didn't quite believe it might be possible, but hopefully these young girls will see that anything is possible and that's the start of every kids dream."

Lauren with her fans in North Walsham

'I haven't got many nails left!' admits mum

One of those watching the outpouring of joy was the England star's mum Julie, and she joked that she was responsible for all of her daughter's skills.

"I taught her all she knows," she said - but admitted that watching her daughter and her teammates was a little nerve-wracking.

"I haven't really got many nails left! The final was just crazy we were on the edge of our seats, so anxious.

"I nearly fainted at one point because you just stand up so quick. I had to hold on to the seat in front.

"We knew she had a special talent, but we never dreamed she'd get this far."

Hemp was presented with the Freedom of North Walsham and then spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know