TEAM GB’s sailors were given a thunderous welcome as thousands of people lined the streets of Weymouth and Portland for an open-top bus parade.
A total of 15 Olympians, including Lymington ’s record-breaking Ben Ainslie, saluted the crowds as a convoy of police vehicles led the victory bus through the winding streets of the borough.
Their journey started from Osprey Quay, Portland – home to the sailing events at this year’s Games and now the home of the British sailing – and travelled up to The Heights Hotel, where hundreds of people had gathered at the viewpoint.
Poole’s Match Race Girls helm Lucy Macgregor, who competed in the Elliott 6m class with her sister Kate Macgregor and crew Annie Lush , but sadly didn’t win a medal, said: “The Olympics had an amazing atmosphere and to see it follow through into this week has been brilliant.
“We’ve seen some amazing sights today, our favourite was a lady who kept running with the bus for quite a while.The Olympic spirit is pretty infectious, I hope we can maintain it for the next few years.”
Quadruple gold and silver medallist Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time, said: '”It’s absolutely amazing being in front of a crowd like that. All the people out there supporting us made a huge difference.”
The sailor, who was chosen to lead Team GB into the Olympic Stadium for the closing ceremony, paid tribute to the supportive crowds.
He added: “It was a real eye opener to see what it meant to everyone around the country. And for us to be able to come here and see you guys - it really is the people’s games.”
The Olympic bus then travelled through Wyke Regis and Rodwell to Hope Square where hundreds more people had gathered.
After a brief stop at Weymouth Pavilion, the victory parade continued along Weymouth’s Esplanade.