Pressure mounts on city chiefs to bring Olympic parade forward

The city's previous Olympic reception, in Augusut 2008. Picture: Jane Barlow

The city's previous Olympic reception, in Augusut 2008. Picture: Jane Barlow

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CITY leaders were today under growing pressure to stage an immediate parade to honour Edinburgh’s Olympic heroes.

• City leaders under growing pressure to bring forward parade for Edinburgh Olympic heroes

• Homecoming parade for Scottish Olympians to be held in Glasgow

Council chiefs insist they are waiting until plans to give Sir Chris Hoy the freedom of the city are approved by councillors next week before organising the Capital’s Olympic celebrations.

They also want to delay the proposed civic reception and parade until after the Paralympic Games conclude on September 9.

Opposition politicians, however, are set to challenge the official line and call for an earlier parade through the city to give the public a chance to welcome Edinburgh’s Olympic heroes home.

Leading local sports figures have said they do not understand why such a parade has not been held already and point out many other UK cities have staged celebrations to welcome their athletes home.

The Scottish Government has controversially chosen Glasgow to host the national Olympic parade, which will take place on September 14.

Edinburgh’s Liberal Democrat group is considering tabling an amendment at next week’s council meeting, calling for the Capital’s parade to be staged as soon as possible.

Lib Dem group leader Paul Edie said: “We should have the parade while the terrific success of the Olympics is still fresh in people’s minds.

“I’m sure people would like to see their heroes sooner rather than later. And if we did it straight away, it would give us the chance to show off some of our athletic talent to the many visitors we have in the city at this time of year.”

He said ideally the parade would take in the High Street, The Mound and Princes Street, passing the city’s two gold pillar boxes at Hunter Square and Hanover Street.

The Greens would also back a parade as soon as possible.

Green councillor Gavin Corbett said: “The Greens support an early opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Sir Chris and his fellow Olympians. There is still time for the council to show that it can be as quick off the mark as Sir Chris himself.”

Council leader Andrew Burns said the parade would be held at the same time as Sir Chris was awarded the freedom of the city and nothing could happen until after the council meeting.

He said: “I’m very excited about the prospect of Sir Chris being awarded the freedom of the city, an honour only half a dozen individuals have been recipients of.

“We do need to have that formal council approval to award this to Sir Chris and I’m sure it will be forthcoming next week.

“As soon as we have that we will be set about putting together an appropriate celebration for such an occasion.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com