Olympian says thank you

Sir

I wish to pay tribute to, and thank the community and residents of my home village of Eglinton, for the wonderful welcome home celebration held on Saturday afternoon last. Also the citizens of Derry/Londonderry, and from the surrounding areas, and all those who travelled from afar to be in attendance.

Special thanks to Gerard O’Donnell, Dr Richard Manning, Bob Parke, and Dympna Stewart. And again all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make Saturday the huge success that it certainly was. It was all very much appreciated.

Thanks to the Mayor of Derry, Mr Kevin Campbell and the City Council for their support and encouragement.

Thanks to the BBC, UTV, RTE and Radio Foyle and the Post Office for the Golden Post Box. Also to all the Reporters and Photographers from both the local and national media, and the tremendous coverage I received from the local newspapers.

Thanks to the Eglinton Car Club, Sparta Athletic Club, Flower Krazy, Something Special, and the Eglinton Flower Show Committee. Especially all those who were partially sighted and blind who hailed from across the Province, and attended. To those who provided food and refreshments. To Brian McWilliams and ‘Banna Piob Naomh Muire,’ and every other individual who contributed in any way.

Thanks to Faughanvale, Craigbrack, Mullabouy, Listress, Broadbridge and Eglinton Schools, their teaching staff, Principles and all the pupils. Especially all those who managed to beat me in the 50 m dash. That will be a story to tell your children, that you beat the World Paralympic Champion in a race. Congratulations to you one and all.

Special thanks to my Parents Lloyd and Diane Smyth, for their unwavering support over the years. And to all my siblings Leeza, Justyn, Laura-Jayne and Jessica and nephew Lewis and his dad Brett. Extended family members including my two Grannies, Heather Smyth and Hilda Hastings, and not forgetting my first teacher, Miss Mitchell from Eglinton Primary School.

Very much special appreciation to my lovely wife to be, Elise Jordan, who travelled from America to be by my side and support me wholeheartedly throughout the games. I do not think she expected all the hype that she witnessed, but now we can both concentrate on our wedding on 29th December in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Finally my very sincere thanks and best wishes to my Coach, Stephen Maguire, who has been by my side for the past 9 years. Lack of funding has meant that we have had to part ways, but thankfully his talent has been appreciated by the Scotland Athletic Association and he is taking up a post with them. Thank you Stephen for helping me develop my talent to become the fastest Paralympian on the planet, and I wish you and your family every success and happiness for your future.

Yours

Jason Smyth

Address supplied