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 last night Calderdale’s heroes were given a rousing reception in Halifax as crowds flocked to the Shay Stadium to celebrate their amazing achievements.
The 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 Cockroft surpassed her 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.
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.
Cockroft 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.”
Bate added: “Coming back with three medals is phenomenal and it is something to be really proud of. It’s fantastic to be here.”
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 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.”
Lizzie Jones, wife of the late rugby player Danny Jones, sang on the night and the Mayor of Calderdale Howard Blagbrough presented the Paralympic heroes with plaques and certificates.