Sheffield golden girl Jess: ‘I would be honoured’

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
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Olympic champion Jessica Ennis says it would be an ‘honour’ if Don Valley Stadium was renamed to mark her achievements in London.

The 26-year-old from Sheffield won the heptathlon gold medal in style on Saturday, sparking jubilant celebrations in her home city and nationwide.

Now fans are calling for Don Valley Stadium - the place where the golden girl began her athletics career, and the track where she still trains - to be renamed the Jess Ennis Stadium in her honour.

Today, speaking exclusively to The Star, Jess said she would be happy if that did happen.

“Don Valley Stadium has been a massive part of my career and of me beginning in athletics, so it would be a massive, massive honour,” she said.

“But it would be very weird if they did rename it!

“It’d be really weird, especially because Don Valley is where everything started.

“I can’t really imagine it.”

Jessica had her first taste of athletics at the track during the school holidays when she was just 10 years old.

Her parents, Vinnie Ennis and Alison Powell, joked that it was a cheap form of childcare.

But little did they realise that, one day, it would lead to their daughter growing up to become the nation’s sweetheart.

Jess said she has been taken aback by the sheer amount of support she has received in Sheffield.

Her golden post box - repainted by the Royal Mail for every Olympic gold medallist’s home town or city - has already become a tourist attraction in Barker’s Pool, where Jess’ face smiles down from a huge banner on the front of John Lewis.

The former King Ecgbert School pupil and student at The University of Sheffield said she couldn’t wait to head north to see it.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the golden post box - I definitely want to see it!” she said.

“These are the really nice things that have been done for the gold medallists.

“And I can’t wait to see everyone back at training, and my friends, and everyone.

“It’ll be so nice to catch up with everyone.”

Jess, from Millhouses, is now one of the prime contenders to carry the Union flag during the Olympics closing ceremony on Sunday night.

n A NEWBORN baby donkey at the Chatsworth House farmyard has been named Jessica after the heptathlon heroine of London 2012.

Born to mother Tilley and father Seamus, and already on her feet, Jes­sica was delivered unaided and found safe and well in her stable by farmyard manager Margaret Norris.

Visitors to the farmyard are able to see Jessica the donkey until the end of the summer.