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City offers parade of honour for Olympic heroes

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2012

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About 10,000 rolls of ticker tape will shower Southland's seven Olympians and 1000 balloons will be released to celebrate their sporting efforts in a parade through the city on Thursday.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt yesterday announced a ticker tape parade to celebrate gold medallist Nathan Cohen, bronze medallist Storm Uru and Jade Uru, Louise Ayling, Natalie Wiegersma, Eddie Dawkins and Natasha Hansen.

Cohen is the first Southland athlete to win a gold medal.

Mr Shadbolt, along with the Olympians, will address the crowd from the balcony of the Civic Theatre following the parade which starts at the corner of Leet and Dee streets at 4pm.

The parade will head down Dee St and turn at Esk St and Kelvin St and then into Tay St where it will finish outside the Civic Theatre.

Ticker tape would be handed out or could be collected free from shops along the route on the afternoon of the parade.

Mr Shadbolt said the Invercargill City Council had ordered about 10,000 rolls of ticker tape and would release 1000 balloons.

"Having not one but seven Olympians representing Southland is really special and worth celebrating with a ticker tape parade," he said.

Mr Shadbolt, who has invited all Southlanders to join in the celebrations, said a pipe band would lead the parade, which would also feature one person from each of the 26 countries competing in the World youth cycling championships at the Invercargill velodrome this week.

The region's sporting facilities had played a part in the success of the Southland Olympians, he said.

"We all share the cost of these facilities so we should all share in the glories."

Sporting clubs and organisations were working on the parade with the council.

Kathleen Ayling, Louise's mother, said yesterday the public recognition was overwhelming.

"I think it's just wonderful that they are giving these athletes this accolade."

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- The Southland Times

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