Aldridge Village website in Walsall west midlands uk
Search this website

Full Site index and page Links    Home page     News & Articles     Contact     What's on & Events    

Eleanor Simmonds
Aldridge, Walsall, WS9, West Midlands UK.

Olympic Swimming gold medal winner in Beijing 2008.

Aldridge Girl Eleanor Simmonds Gold Winner for Team GB from the Paralympics

Olympic double Gold winner Eleanor Simmonds returned to her home town in Aldridge on September 19th 2008 after winning the hearts of the world with her stunning gold medal display in Beijing.

13-year-old Eleanor was given a standing ovation by 300 pupils and teachers at her former school in Aldridge, the first of a wave of public appearances the teenager will be enjoying.

Cooper and Jordon headteacher Ray Hosking said: “We are all very proud of her achievements and she is our most famous ex-pupil.”

Eleanor and her team-mates were met from the plane by hordes of spectators at Heathrow Airport on September 18th 2008, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The teenage swimming sensation won the women’s S6 400 metres title smashing her own world record and won the 100 metres freestyle at the Olympic games.

She was whisked back to Aldridge, where she lives with her family, for a brief rest before heading to her old school, Cooper and Jordan CE School, The Green, Aldridge. Eleanor said: “Winning the medals was just unbelievably amazing and I just still cannot believe it.”

Eleanor Simmonds was hailed a heroine by Prime Minister Gordon Brown who was one of the first to meet her on the return from Beijing.

The PM was at Heathrow Airport along with crowds of excited fans who gathered to welcome home Team GB from the Paralympics. The athletes arrived back in the UK weighed down by 102 medals, two of which belonged to 13-year-old Eleanor, who became the darling of the games after her stunning double win.

Mr Brown chatted with Eleanor Simmonds as he posed for pictures with her, saying she was an inspiration to others hoping to strike gold at London 2012.

He said: “This was one of Great Britain’s biggest Paralympic squads of all time with 206 athletes across 18 of the 20 Paralympics sports, with ages ranging from 13 years old to 63. They have done Britain proud and we can all take inspiration from their talent and

dedication. “Forty-two golds and 102 medals in total is a tremendous achievement and is a fantastic springboard as we aim for even greater success in London 2012.”

Eleanor said: “It’s great coming back and meeting Gordon Brown, that was so good and really exciting. He said ‘well done, we are all so proud of you and are you looking forward to London 2012 ?’. This is all a big boost for paralympics and to let people with disabilities know that this is something that they can do. Beijing has been such an amazing experience for me.”

Eleanor had to train and prepare for the Paralympic Games away from the West Midlands as the area does not have an Olympic-sized pool.

Eleanor has been training in Swansea, Wales, nearly 160 miles away.

Her success at the games has renewed calls for an Olympic-sized pool to be built in the West Midlands.

Birmingham City Council has said it is committed to providing a 50m pool.

Eleanor's former coach Dave Marsh said: "We just haven't got the facilities in Birmingham. "We need a 50m pool to train Olympic swimmers."

Eleanor, born with achondroplasia, or dwarfism, was a former member of a swimming club in Sutton Coldfield. The Wyndley Leisure Centre, where they trained, has been closed since November 2006 for repairs.

When it reopens, in December 2008, it will not have a 50m pool. Chairman Keith Mundy said councillors had been promising a 50m pool for the past 20 years. Birmingham City Council said it was talking to a number of partners about providing a 50m pool.

For a copy of the Free Aldridge Newsletter delivered by email, please use the form below:
Your email address will NOT be passed to any other organisation. Please take care to enter your correct email address to ensure you recieve your welcome message.
Free Newsletter from Aldridge Village website in Walsall west midlands uk

Back to the top

© Copyright Alan Neath. 2005 -   All Rights Reserved

Did you see any errors on Aldridge website ?
please let us know !

  • contact Aldridge website Thank you very much.