The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By Joel Lamy joel.lamy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Give Peter­bor­ough’s Olympic stars the Free­dom of the City! That is the call from the Mayor of Peter­bor­ough who is back­ing gym­nast Louis Smith and wind­surfer Nick Dempsey to re­ceive the pres­ti­gious ac­co­lade.

Coun­cil­lor David San­ders will look to host both sil­ver medal­lists at a re­cep­tion at the Mayor’s Par­lour in the Town Hall, and he be­lieves they de­serve plenty of at­ten­tion for their achieve­ments in Rio.

He said: “In Peter­bor­ough we’ve not had a glut of peo­ple go­ing to the Olympics or a glut of celebri­ties, and four years of hard work goes into that medal. We can’t ap­pre­ci­ate what goes into it.

“Let’s big them up, they have a lot to be proud of. And it’s not like it’s their first time, they both have a his­tory at the Olympics.”

Cllr San­ders has writ­ten to Cllr Peter Hiller, chair­man of the coun­cil’ s hon­ours panel, to nom­i­nate Louis, from Eye, as a Free­man of the City.

De­scrib­ing him as an in­spi­ra­tion, he said :“He is young and, if made a Free­man, he would have the rest of his life en­joy­ing the hon­our.”

Cllr San­ders said he will also sup­port for­mer Or­ton Longueville School pupil Nick get­ting the ac­co­lade if nom­i­nated. Cllr Hiller said the hon­ours panel will meet at the end of Septem­ber to dis­cuss Louis’ nom­i­na­tion.

Po­lice of­fi­cer Josh Mills ( 26) from Dogsthorpe has known Louis since the age of 12 when they met at Arthur Mel­lows-Vil­lage Col­lege, while Louis was the usher at Josh’s wed­ding last year.

Josh watched Louis win sil­ver in the pom­mel horse final on Sun­day at a JD Wether­spoon in Mil­ton Keynes where he had been snow­board­ing with friends. He said: “I was very ner­vous and bit­ing my nails. There were a few of us that breathed a sigh of re­lief.

“I’m happy for him. He’s worked re­ally hard to get back in the team.”

Josh high­lighted Louis’ ded­i­ca­tion at school, say­ing: “He was train­ing six days a week most of the time. He had to miss out on a lot,” he said.

“He is still the same per­son. At school he was some­one that pretty much ev­ery­one liked.”

Josh, who could not help but no­tice “that ridicu­lous hairdo” when he en­joyed a bar­be­cue with Louis ahead of his flight to Rio, added: “The Queen’s given him an MBE, why can’t we give him Free­dom of the City? He is one of the most fa­mous peo­ple to come from the city.”

Louis’ coach Paul Hall, from Hunt­ing don Gym­nas­tics Club, also paid trib­ute to Louis who had fallen off the pom­mel horse in the team final a week ear­lier. He said: “I’m proud of the guy and very re­lieved.

“He did a fan­tas­tic job un­der im­mense pres­sure.

“He is a Peter­bor­ough lad and talks very highly of the city. Of course he should be recog­nised for his en­deav­ours.”

Af­ter his sil­ver and bronze at London 2012, fol­low­ing a bronze at Bei­jing 2008, Louis was driven through the city on board an open-top bus in front of a vast crowd.

Asked if there would be a re­peat this time, a Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “We will be look­ing at a way we can con­grat­u­late Louis and any other medal­list from Peter­bor­ough.”

Nick is now the most dec­o­rated men’s Olympic wind­surfer with his sil­ver in the Olympic RS: X. He had also won a sil­ver at London 2012 and a bronze at Athens 2004.

Speak­ing pre­vi­ously to the Peter­bor­ough Telegraph Nick, who now lives in Wey­mouth, re­vealed it had not been plain sail­ing learning to wind­surf at Ferry Mead­ows.

He­said: “I think the menin the res­cue boat used to get fed up hav­ing to keep com­ing out and drag­ging me back in.

“They would tell me the con­di­tions weren’ t safe for me and that I should stay on land, but as soon as they had turned their backs I would be straight back out on the wa­ter.”

Louis Smith and (inset) Nick Dempsey on their way to win­ning sil­ver.

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