OLYMPIC queen Jessica Ennis will be given a glittering welcome home with fans asked to turn Sheffield into a sea of gold on Friday, it was announced today.
Civic leaders have invited the whole city to turn out and wear something gold, to show the heptathlon Olympic champion their appreciation for putting Sheffield on the global stage.
The 26-year-old, who was the poster girl face of the Games before it even began, has become one of the best-known athletes in the world since her stunning victory at London’s Olympic Stadium.
Now her biggest fans, in the city which nurtured her talent, will get to welcome her home.
Thousands of people, from all over South Yorkshire and beyond, are expected to pour into Barker’s Pool to catch a glimpse of the sporting superstar and her medal.
The event will be a celebration of her victory - featuring music, sport and film on a stage in the square from 4pm, with the golden girl herself to appear at 6.15pm.
Jessica and her family have also been invited to a private celebration at Sheffield City Hall from 7pm.
The former King Ecgbert’s pupil and member of City of Sheffield Athletics Club will be welcomed home by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun John Campbell.
Coun Campbell said: “We want to turn the city centre into a sea of gold.
“Jessica is a world beater, Olympic champion and above all a Sheffield girl and we want to welcome her home in style.
“We have all followed her rise to Olympic glory over the years and now we cannot wait to see her back in her home city.
“She has done Sheffield proud and we want to celebrate her sporting prowess in the place where it all began.
“I’d urge Sheffielders to come and show their support for Jessica and join in the city’s celebrations.”
The creators of Jessica’s website say global interest in the sports star has soared since the Olympics started.
Her site www.jessicaennis.net has seen 360,000 visitors in the last three weeks - up from 12,000 a month before the Games.
Phil Parkin, of Kelham Island-based Quick Feet Production, who created the site with developers Webboxx, said on the two days Jessica was competing the site received 186,000 visitors.
A third were from overseas - mostly from USA, Germany and Australia.
But Jessica, from Millhouses, is looking forward to getting back to normality in her home city - and preparing for her wedding next year.
Her fiancé Andy Hill, 27, said he felt his heart would burst with pride when he saw her cross the finish line in first place in the 800m to secure the gold.
“I cried when I saw Jess win,” he said.
“I’ve done really well for myself haven’t I?
“Jessica is wonderful and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.”