Hundreds of people lined the streets of Downend, Fishponds and Bristol city centre today to honour local Winter Olympic bronze medallist Jenny Jones.
Wearing her trademark hat, the 33-year-old snowboarder, who became the first Briton to win an Olympic medal in a snow event after winning bronze in Slopestyle at Sochi, began her official homecoming by meeting pupils at Hambrook Primary School and Downend School, before boarding an open-top bus for the seven-mile journey into the city centre for a grand reception at City Hall.
The rain that had poured down while she was answering students’ questions in the hall at Downend miraculously stopped before she walked out to board the bus and there was sunshine and blue skies all the way to City Hall.
The bus left Downend School at about 4pm and travelled along Westerleigh Road and Cleeve Road, Downend Road and Fishponds Road before joining the M32. It then went along Bond Street, though the St James Barton Roundabout, along Rupert Street and past the Hippodrome on the Centre, before arriving at College Green/Park Street about an hour later.
Many people waiting for a glimpse of Jenny were waving flags, while drivers beeped their horns as the bus, with police outriders, made its way through the streets.
There was a party atmosphere on board the bus on which were her parents Pete and Helen, who still live in Downend, and other members of her family, plus friends and local dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor of Bristol Cllr Faruk Choudhury, the Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Ian Boulton, and the Chairman of Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council Cllr Graeme Riley.
Before boarding the bus Cllr Riley presented Jenny with the honour of being a Parish Champion.
A huge cheering crowd greeted Jenny when she got off the bus and she was inundated with requests for autographs and pictures. She walked to the front of City Hall where she was warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson and led in for the civic reception.
Other invited guests included the Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Nick Gargan and the Chairman of Bath & North East Somerset Council Cllr Neil Butters.
Cllr Choudhury presented Jenny with a piece of Bristol Blue glass made specially in her honour and Jenny then made a speech thanking all her supporters. There was also the chance to watch her winning Slopestyle on a big screen.
Jenny, who now lives in Backwell, has become something of a celebrity since winning bronze, with appearances including The One Show, the Jonathan Ross Show and Daybreak since returning home. She has also been on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch and in total has notched up around 60 interviews with the media.
She will be back on the slopes for her next contest in about a month.