PICTURED: Olympian Lizzy Yarnold delights West Kingsdown with parade

News Shopper: Terry Malone presents Lizzy with the specially made postbox Terry Malone presents Lizzy with the specially made postbox

Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold enjoyed a victory parade through her home patch on Friday. Reporter HELOISE WOOD was among the cheering crowds and grabbed a word with Kent's new superstar.

Lizzy Yarnold says her "need for speed" stemmed from working at Brands Hatch as a teenager.

The skeleton slider revisited home town West Kingsdown on Friday in an "overwhelming" victory parade through her old haunts to celebrate her gold at the Winter Olympics last month.

She caught up with youngsters from her old school, her grandmother- who she had not seen since before the Olympics - and many hundreds of cheering supporters.

News Shopper caught up with the 25-year-old, at the last stop in West Kingsdown Primary School, to hear about her whirlwind day.

She said: "It’s amazing being back here but also overwhelming.

"There are so many people here to congratulate me."

News Shopper: PICTURED: Olympian Lizzy Yarnold delights hometown West Kingsdown with victory parade

Lizzy was particularly excited to revisit Brands Hatch where she worked in the catering department as a teenager.

The former West Kingsdown resident told News Shopper: "That was where the need for speed came.

"It was so good being back there and I’m going to visit again in a few weeks."

Other nearby schools piled into the playground at Fawkham Road including West Kingsdown Pre-school which Lizzy attended.

The excitement was palpable as hundreds of kids screamed her name while rows of toddlers proudly held up letters spelling ‘Congratulations’.

Teacher Jean Wythe said: "I was here when Lizzy came. Her dad helped rebuild the school after it suffered a fire.

"The kids were so excited to see her. We’ve been following her progress from the beginning and made gold medals especially."

 

News Shopper: The last stop was in West Kingsdown Primary School

Carpenter Terry Malone, from Sevenoaks, was on hand to deliver the gold-painted post box he had created in honour of Lizzy.

He said: "I made it because a lot of people were upset there hadn’t been a gold post box made for her before.

"Lots of kids have made cards and written letters to her and put them in the box and we’re going to present them all to her."

Mother Becki Prince revealed her son could not wait to catch a glimpse of the Olympian.

She said: "It’s the first time he’s not moaned about going to school. "

Fellow mum Farah Parvez said: "They asked to wear their special shoes they normally only wear for weddings because they’re the smartest."

West Kingsdown Primary School headteacher Sonia Phillips told News Shopper: "We were thrilled to be chosen to be the final stop because we have a very strong community and everyone came together."

News Shopper: PICTURED: Olympian Lizzy Yarnold delights hometown West Kingsdown with victory parade

Lizzy twice broke the track record at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi last month after only taking up the Skeleton sport five years ago.

She received a £700 grant for her training from the Sevenoaks District Sports Council.

West Kingsdown Primary School headteacher Sonia Phillips told News Shopper: “We were thrilled to be chosen to be the final stop because we have a very strong community and everyone came together.”

Lizzy twice broke the track record at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi last month after only taking up the Skeleton sport five years ago.

She received a £700 grant for her training from the Sevenoaks District Sports Council.

Skeleton involves hurtling down a special track with artificially frozen ice using just a sled.

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