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11 December 2012, 12:21
Olympic canoe slalom gold medallist Etienne Stott has been made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Bedford.
The 33-year-old, who attended Bedford's Castle Lower School, Goldington Middle School and Biddenham Upper School and also remains a member of the Viking Kayak Club in Bedford, was presented with a framed Deed of Conferment by the Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson on Monday 10 December 2012.
Other athletes previously made Honorary Freemen of Bedford include the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe and the rower Tim Foster.
Stott won Gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the C2 Canoe Slalom with his partner Tim Baillie.
He was one of the athletes welcomed back to Bedford in September when thousands lined the streets for the Olympic and Paralympic Homecoming Parade and the unveiling of the Etienne Stott White Water Arena on the River Great Ouse.
Etienne was also guest of honour at Bedford's Christmas light switch on in November.
Etienne Stott was joined at an intimate gathering by a range of people who have contributed to his success. This included former teachers, representatives of his Scout group and a number of fellow members of the Viking Kayak Club.
Speaking after the presentation, he said: “It has been a whirlwind few months since the Olympics and this is a wonderful honour to round off a fantastic 2012.
“I am very grateful to receive this honour today and I would also like to thank all the people of Bedford Borough for their support throughout the year.”
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “This is the highest honour we can bestow on an individual and it is richly deserved.
“Etienne thrilled us all with his performance at the Olympic Games in London by winning gold, and his efforts stood out even amongst a long list of memorable sporting moments in 2012.
“Etienne has gone to great lengths to share his triumph with the community since that day and through activities such as numerous school visits, attendance at local events and much more he has shown what an inspirational role model he is, especially for young people locally.
“It was a privilege to present Etienne with this honour, and to have the chance to once again say ‘well done’ for his outstanding achievements and his contribution both to his sport and to Bedford Borough.”