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Hero's homecoming for Olympians

Olympic medallists returning home after the London Games - widely acclaimed as a huge success - have received a hero's welcome.

Thousands of people turned out in Leeds to see triathlon gold and bronze medal winning brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and cycling road race silver medalist Lizzie Armitstead, who attended a special reception in their honour in Millennium Square.

The crowd of around 5,000 people cheered loudly and waved Union flags as the athletes were led through the square and welcomed on to the stage. One group held up a hand-drawn sign reading "Pride of Yorkshire" and listing the names of the medal-winning athletes.

Also present at the celebration were members of the Team GB diving squad, including Jack Laugher, Alicia Blagg, Hannah Starling and Sarah Barrow, and weightlifters Gareth Evans and Jack Oliver. A special welcome was given to Dee Adams, mother of gold medal-winning boxer Nicola Adams. The Brownlee brothers said they hoped their success would inspire others.

Meanwhile in Dorset, almost every member of Peter Wilson's tiny village packed in to the local hall to celebrate the 25-year-old shooter's gold medal in the double trap at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. Despite there being just 120 people on Glanvilles Wootton's electoral roll, nearly double that number gathered to cheer for their Olympic hero.

Medal-winning boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan returned to Belfast to a rapturous reception from supporters and family and thanked the fans for urging them on to glory. Hundreds packed the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction to welcome the bronze medallists home.

On the other side of the border, gold medallist Katie Taylor choked back tears as she dedicated her historic boxing victory to her home town. It was one of the sunniest days of the summer as the 26-year-old took to a stage on the seafront of Bray, Co Wicklow, waving and shadow-boxing before more than 20,000 adoring fans.

On Monday night, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Olympics presented "another side to modern Britain" following last year's riots in English cities and the spirit of the Games could help solve some of the social troubles in the UK.

"I think its totally wrong, even after the most amazing two weeks ever, in many ways, to pretend that we don't have huge social problems to deal with," he told BBC Two's Newsnight. "But what I think the last two weeks does is it gives us a way through. And I hope that the lessons of the last two weeks will go well beyond sport. We've shown what we can do if everyone pulls together, we've shown what we can do if we decide as a country we really want to think big and do something amazing."

Gold medal-winning boxer Luke Campbell is set to be honoured in his home city of Hull, along with hammer finalist Alex Smith.

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