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Olympic medallists Danielle Brown and Andy Hodge
Craven’s two gold medallists have spoken about the “amazing” and “enthusiastic” crowds that lined the streets of London for a parade of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Danielle Brown, Lothersdale’s Paralympic archer, and Andy Hodge, Hebden ’s Olympic rower, both former pupils of South Craven School, Cross Hills , were “wowed” by crowds estimated at over one million people, which lined the streets as the 300-strong Paralympics GB team joined more than 500 of their Olympic counterparts to parade through the capital on Monday.
“The whole Olympics have been a whirlwind of enthusiasm and engagement with the public, and the parade was a magnified version of that,” said, Andy, 33, who won gold in the coxless four. “We got to say thank you and celebrate with the crowds. I just wish there were more parades.
“Without a doubt, these Games have been the finest example of British teamwork and a nation coming together.”
And Danielle, 24, added: “It’s just incredible, the amount of support we’ve had. I’ve done Games before but I don’t think anything can top this - and it’s down to the home support. The numbers of people were so inspiring and the streets were absolutely packed.”
For many Paralympians, who were housed in the athletes’ village, the parade was a first chance to step outside the “bubble” of competition.
Danielle, who won gold in the women’s individual compound open event, said: “I was so focused on my shooting that I didn’t really think about this. But after that, everything has been totally surreal.”
Danielle spent the first part of the Olympics preparing and competing, but once she won gold, she had precious little time to herself.
“I’ve not actually stopped, and have been so busy since I won,” she said. “I’m looking forward to taking a little time to sit back and relax.”
Danielle said that winning gold in London was “much better than winning in Beijing because of the home support”.
“It’s been great having everybody wanting you to win,” she said. “There was a lot of expectation on me. Everybody wanted me to do well, especially after I won in Beijing.”
Her family, dad Duncan, mum Elizabeth, sister Helen, 22, and youngest sister, Georgie, 19, all travelled to London to watch Danielle compete.
“We don’t always get to see Dani in competition because she competes all over the world,” said Helen. “But we were all there for the amazing final.
“For Dani, it meant so much winning in her home country. There was a lot of pressure on her and you could tell she was more nervous.
“We’re just so proud of her and we were glad to be able to go and see her win gold.”
Danielle, who now lives in Telford, said that she was also pleased to receive so much support from the residents of Lothersdale.
When asked about the golden postbox in Skipton , Danielle said: “They gave me the choice of Shropshire or Yorkshire, but it was always going to be Yorkshire because that’s where I’m from.”
Danielle, who said she was “definitely having some time off,” is aiming to defend her title at the next Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.