Sheffield’s Jess could be given Freedom of City as plans drawn up for civic reception

A banner on Sheffield Town Hall congratulating Jess Ennis on her Olympic gold medal
A banner on Sheffield Town Hall congratulating Jess Ennis on her Olympic gold medal
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A BANNER has been hung outside Sheffield Town Hall to congratulate golden girl Jess Ennis - as plans are drawn up for a civic reception and to give her the Freedom of the City.

Praise has flooded in for the heptathlete after her sensational medal-winning performance at the weekend.

Sheffield Council said officials are now in talks with Jessica herself to see what she wants to have as a lasting legacy following her success.

The civic ceremony will also congatulate Sheffield’s other 2012 stars after the games draw to a close.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “The whole of Sheffield is buzzing with excitement and filled with pride for our Olympic champion, Jessica Ennis.

“A homegrown gold medal winner being born and bred in the city, Jessica is truly ‘Made in Sheffield’ and we are bursting with joy to take her see Olympic gold.”

She added: “I know the whole city has been behind her throughout her Olympic journey, and yet again she has done us proud!

“Jessica is known and admired by sports fans across the world and is an ideal role model for young people, not only here in Sheffield but nationally.

“She is a great ambassador for the city and a fantastic role model to inspire and encourage our next generation of rising sports stars.”

Coun Dore added: “Jessica is now without doubt a local hero. Not only is this a personal fantastic achievement for Jess, her family and her team, but it is also a great success for Sheffield.

“Sheffield people have taken Jess to their hearts and without doubt her fantastic achievement will be a lasting legacy for the city and I hope will inspire other youngsters in years to come.

“There are several options to mark her success but most importantly we need to consider Jess and her family’s feelings on any suggestions, to make sure what is done is what they would want to see.”

Further congratulations were paid by figures from across the political spectrum, and by Jess’ first coach, Mick Thompson, who said: “You can’t get better than this.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the opposition Lib Dem group on the council, said: “Every Sheffielder will have been bursting with pride as our golden girl took the starring role in what was undoubtedly one of the greatest nights in British sporting history.

“Sheffield, Britain - even the world - expected, and Jess delivered in style.

“She is a brilliant ambassador for our city and an inspiration to hundreds of young people - she has earned the respect of the whole city and no honour will be truly fitting of her achievement.”

Former sports minister and ex-Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn said: “She’s our golden girl. She’s stuck with Sheffield and Sheffield’s stuck with her.

“She had all the disappointments of Beijing.

“And we know through the depths of the training what this really means to her, this Olympic gold.”

Brightside and Hillsborough Labour MP David Blunkett added: “Jess is the Princess of Sheffield. She has lifted the hearts of the nation and provided inspiration for the next generation of young athletes.”