Calderdale’s Paralympic heroes honoured at event

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson

They pushed their bodies to the limit in Rio to represent Great Britain in the Paralympic Games on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

And tonight, Calderdale’s heroes were given a rousing reception in Halifax as crowds flocked to the Shay Stadium to celebrate their amazing achievements.

The special event was attended by medal-clad Hannah Cockroft, as well as Mytholmroyd-based Steve Bate and his tandem cycling partner Adam Duggleby, from Leeds.

Wheelchair racer ‘Hurricane’ Hannah surpassed her amazing medal total from the London 2012 games, by winning three gold medals and storming to victory in the T34 400m final in a world record-breaking time of 58.78 seconds.

Steve Bate secured two golds in the men’s 4,000m individual pursuit and the road time trial, plus a bronze in the men’s road race.

Hannah said: “Rio was incredible, it was completely different to London but the crowds really came out. I just loved it, but it’s great to be back in Halifax and back in Calderdale.

“The reaction we have had has been amazing. Thank you to everyone who has come out for us, it means so much.

“You have been here for the whole journey and this is the result. It really shows how strong Calderdale is in Paralympic sport - there’s so much help and support given to make champions.”

Steve added: “Coming back with three medals is phenomenal and it is something to be really proud of. It’s fantastic to be here and to be able to share our success is amazing.”

The night also marked the achievements of inspirational athletes Karen Darke, who won gold in the women’s cycling road time trial and Harry Brown, who collected bronze as part of the wheelchair basketball team.

The pair were unable to attend on the night due to other commitments, but family members took their place in celebration of their success.

Karen’s parents Mike and Chris said: “We are just so proud of Karen, she deserves everything she gets because she works so hard.”

Lizzie Jones sang on the night and the Mayor of Calderdale Howard Blagbrough presented the Paralympic heroes with plaques and certificates.

He said: “These athletes are truly inspirational.”

The Mayor of Hebden Royd, Tony Hodgins was also in attendance.