'Your medals as well as mine'
THOUSANDS swayed to the Rio beat for Olympic champion Peter Reed's spectacular homecoming tour on Saturday.
All along the route around Stroud, and on to Nailsworth, crowds rushed to salute the oarsman's London 2012 and Beijing 2008 victories.
While on the upper deck of the Stroud Life open top bus, a samba band heralded his road to the Rio 2016 games, Saturday was simply about the Nailsworth Royal Navy officer deservedly soaking up the adulation.
He spared a moment for everyone who wanted an autograph, a handshake, a photo, or a chance to hold his precious gold medals.
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"I am so proud to be part of Team GB, part of a nation that got it right," he told invited guests at Stroud District Council's civic reception.
"To see how much goodwill there is in the country towards the athletes and what has been achieved, shows what's great about sport.
"The qualities of the Olympians and Paralympians has really inspired the next generation, and I have seen it for myself at home – the excitement for what has been achieved is amazing.
"I was only a minor fraction of that performance and it really is an honour to be part of this today."
Fiance Frauke Oltmanns, mum Sue, dad Leo and sister Sarah Nichols saw for themselves just how much Peter's second coxless four Olympic gold meant to the people of Stroud and Nailsworth.
"I have to say "no" to my family so often," said Peter, whose life in training is often conducted far away from home. "It's wonderful to know I have a support base at home. I am thrilled to be back. I am speaking from the heart. My medals are as much as for you as for me."
Several thousand people lined the streets of both towns, and along the route through Rodborough, Lightpill, Rooksmoor, Woodchester, and Inchbrook.
Traffic stopped, horns blared,
flags waved and cameras clicked from all available vantage points.
Peter received a rapturous reception in Nailsworth, where he signed autographs and gave a speech at the town hall, before heading up to Forest Green Rovers' New Lawn ground for a half-time pitch appearance.
He won many friends earlier this week on visits to schools including Beaudesert Park,
St Dominic's RC Primary and Acorn, and Horsfall
House care centre for the elderly.
On Saturday Olympic fever gripped the district for modest man who left Nailsworth for service with the Royal Navy and returned an Olympic hero.