VENUE: Manchester's Albert Square
THE EYES of the world were on Manchester today as the nation celebrated the Olympic and Paralympic heroes of Rio 2016.
Olympic and Paralympic stars, Jessica Ennis Hill, Dame Sarah Storey, Max Whitlock, Jade Jones, Nicola Adams, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Nick Skelton, Jonnie Peacock, Jody Cundy, Ellie Robinson, Ellie Simmonds, Jack Laugher, Richard Whitehead and Team GB’s Women’s Hockey Team were amongst the roster of athletes being celebrated.
Thousands of people are expected to gather for Manchester’s Heroes Parade, where hundreds of Olympic and Paralympic athletes will tour the city centre from 4.30pm followed by an event in Albert Square, outside the iconic Manchester Town Hall from 5.30pm.
Match of the Day favourite Mark Chapman and Blue Peter star Helen Skelton will host the Albert Square celebration, welcoming the athletes on stage and interviewing some of the biggest names of the Games.
Providing the entertainment. Rebecca Ferguson will perform live, singing some of her best known hits to the crowds in Albert Square.
The Welshmen behind the Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir will also be on hand to add their atmospheric tones to the event, which will be topped off with a grand finale.
The event is completely free, but capacity is limited in Albert Square and access will be restricted when the space is full.
The parade itself began at Liverpool Road, down the length of Deansgate to Hunts Bank, round to Corporation Street, Cross Street and into Albert Square.
Cllr Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The excitement is palpable in Manchester. We are so proud to host the national parade for our Olympic and Paralympic Heroes.
“The event in Albert Square will be a fantastic show and we’re all looking forward to hearing from some of the biggest names of the Games. Albert Square will be busy but there will also be big screens across the city centre, which will give some of the best views of the event. We look forward to seeing you in Manchester on Monday.”
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said: "Our Olympic and Paralympic heroes made the nation proud with their dedication, talent and incredible success in Rio. Now is the time for the public to come out on to the streets of Manchester and show their appreciation for these amazing athletes."