SPECIAL Olympics (EPCNSO) athletes from Ellesmere Port, Chester and Neston who attended the National Summer Games this year have enjoyed a homecoming parade.

The Port Arcades in Ellesmere Port played host to the parade, celebrating athletes from the local branch and giving them a chance to show off their medals and ribbons.

Athletes walked through the town centre carrying the Special Olympics GB flag and were greeted by friends, family and shoppers who applauded their achievements.

Athletes from the local branch were joined by the Mayor of Ellesmere Port, Cllr Nicole Meardon and Ellesmere Port and Neston MP, Justin Madders, who supported the event.

The group was joined by former footballer Derek Mountfield, who played for clubs including Everton and Tranmere Rovers.

He is the North-West ambassador for Special Olympics and regularly supports the group by attending events and advocating the fantastic work of Special Olympics.

Chair of the Committee, Corrina Thorley said: “The parade was absolutely wonderful, the athletes thoroughly enjoyed themselves and were welcomed with cheers and applause throughout the parade. The group would like to give sincere thanks to the Port Arcades for hosting the event and in particular our special thanks to Michelle for all her efforts prior to and during the parade”

Athlete and medal winner, Jonathan Butler said: “I had a fantastic time walking down with my friends to celebrate the Sheffield games and what we all achieved. We all did our best and I would like to thank the staff, volunteers and parents for all their help and support.

Michelle Pickstock, speaking on behalf of the Port Arcades Shopping Centre said: “It was an absolute privilege to welcome the athletes and the volunteers associated with the Ellesmere Port, Chester and Neston Special Olympics team to the centre to receive the homecoming and recognition they deserve.

“The group are 100 per cent self funding and we hope this event may help to deservedly raise their profile in the community.”