Proud homecoming for hero Sam
A NOTTS village was turned into a sea of red, white, blue and gold as residents celebrated the homecoming of Olympic hero Sam Oldham.
Sam bagged a bronze at the team gymnastics event at London 2012, but it was a gold BMW that took him through Keyworth on Saturday.
The streets were packed as he made his way from Main Street through to the village hall.
Sam, 19, a former pupil of Crossdale Drive Primary School and Rushcliffe School, said he was overwhelmed with the support from friends and family.
He said: "To see how many people have come out today is just amazing – I've always known the people of Keyworth are behind me and I just want to say thank you to every single one.
"It's been an unbelievable summer – I've got some great memories from the Olympics and it was everything I ever dreamed of.
"But Keyworth is where I'm from and it's good to be back. The Games were all about inspiration and if just one person sees what I did and takes up sport because of it, I would just be so pleased."
Grandmother Yvonne Kelby added: "It's almost like he's a celebrity now – he's signing autographs for people and everyone wants to have their photo taken with him but he's just so humble with it.
"A lot of hard work went into getting that medal, but he was just so determined – he'd put the hours in either training or watching other routines on the internet and studying.
"Even today, he was training this morning before coming here – that's how focused he is."
After the parade in the village, there was a cake baked for Sam and a reception at the village hall.
Keyworth parish councillor Keith Barton said: "Sam and his teammates have taken their place in history – the people of Keyworth are standing a few inches taller out of sheer pride."
Sam's grandad Arthur Oldham said the whole town was delighted with the bronze medal.
He added: "Today is a very proud day for us – Sam did fantastically well at the Games and the whole village was delighted when he got the bronze medal.
"It was such a relief when he got picked for the team event. He had been suffering a lot from injuries in the run-up to the Games, but he was so focussed on being there, he would have been devastated if he had missed out. But that's all in the past.
"Today is about celebrating his wonderful achievements and welcoming him back to the village."
John Cottee, county councillor for Keyworth, said: "We've seen him grow up from promising talent to Olympic medallist and we'll all be wishing him the best for the future."