A STAR of the London 2012 Olympics got a hero’s welcome as she made a visit to the Fylde coast.
Crowds stretched down Poulton Street, Kirkham, for a chance to meet the golden girl of British athletics, Jessica Ennis, at Silverdell book shop’s biggest event to date.
Union Jack flags were out in force as around 1,000 people gathered in the normally peaceful rural Fylde town for a glimpse of the global sporting star as she signed copies of her book, Unbelievable – From My Childhood Dreams to Winning Olympic Gold.
Jessica, who enjoyed a specially made ‘Golden Girl Jessica’ ice-cream at the book shop, said: “It’s fantastic to be here today in Kirkham. So many people have turned out, it really is amazing.”
The book reveals the hard work, heartache, sweat and tears and highs and lows on her journey to Olympic glory in the multi-event Heptathlon.
She added: “It’s been good.
“I’ve put quite a lot of effort into the book. It’s nice it’s finished.
“Before the Games, I was focused on the Olympics and not having distractions and not wanting to look back.
“But it’s been fun looking back over the years of my life.
“It’s amazing to have a book and for it to be out now.”
Silverdell co-owner Elaine Silverwood said: “It’s absolutely incredible. To have such a massive name in the town, on her only book signing in the North West, is amazing. I am very proud. We have had many names over the years come to the store but I certainly think this is among the best.”
As the queue to get into the store to meet Jessica grew longer, expectant fans spoke of their delight at meeting the gold-medal winning star.
Vicki France, 15, of Scale Hall Lane, Newton, and Jordan Dixon, also 15, of Marcus Drive, Freckleton, braved the chilly November weather to meet their hero.
Vicki said: “We came here an hour and a half before the doors opened but it is worth it. She is so inspirational.”
Jordan added: “The chance to meet a star such as Jessica was too good to pass up.
“I can’t wait to see her.”
Steven Davison, 40, of Dowbridge, Kirkham, said it was great to see the town alive for Jessica’s visit.
Steven said: “It is fantastic for Kirkham and it is great for the book shop.
“They’ve had a few big names but I think this tops the lot.
“When people talk about recessions and shops closing down it can paint a bleak picture, but when you see the town full of people like this it is great.”
Charlotte Ward, 20, of Church Road, Weeton, visited the town with David Wells, 31, of Station Road, Kirkham.
Charlotte said: “London 2012 was such a special event and I remember how proud I felt when she got the gold medal.”
David added: “Coming here today gives us the chance to meet the face of the London Olympics. I think it is brilliant someone like Jessica Ennis has come to Kirkham.”
One couple from St Annes had an important trip to make – they needed a book signing for their son William, 10, a huge fan of Jessica’s.
Ian Bradbury, 41, with wife Shirley, 48, of Newbury Road said: “It just shows how big Jessica has become.
“It’s amazing having her here.”