A CAMPAIGN is under way to give Olympic gold medallist Tom James a hero’s welcome when he returns to North Wales.
Tom, brought up in Coedpoeth, raised a cheer from the nation when he rowed to coxless four victory on Saturday in Shunyi, near Beijing.
After his win he immediately headed over to kiss his blonde girlfriend Sarah Stewart, of Guildford.
Wrexham County Borough Council is lining up a warm welcome for the 24-year-old when he returns home in the coming weeks.
And Wrexham FC would love to invite the Olympic hero as a guest to one of their matches for what would be a rousing reception.
He is due to fly back to Britain on Monday, August 25.
And after a few days dealing with business, interviews, and settling back into daily life, he is hoping to make his way back to Coedpoeth to stay with dad Mike and mum Julia.
The British team came back to win in spectacular fashion against their old foes from Australia but left it late to sink the boys from Down Under in a nail-biting finish.
Speaking from Beijing his dad Mike said Tom was relaxing.
“He’s in the pool,” said Mike. “We can hear the crickets in the background and the sun is going down, it’s lovely. Tom is tired, he has done a lot of interviews, but is relaxing. I don’t think it has properly sunk in yet.
“He will be having a relaxing week and will be going to watch the Olympics at the Bird’s Nest stadium which is magnificent.
“He has a few things he had to do in London with the Olympic team and I’m sure the British Press will have their go with Tom. But he’s looking to come home for a week after that.
“I don’t think he’s too sure what he is going to do after that.”
National flags of non-competing countries had been banned by organisers, but James didn’t care as he wrapped himself in the Welsh Dragon.
Malcolm Russell, deputy chief executive, said: “Wrexham council sends its congratulations and best wishes to Tom James following his Olympic Gold success in the coxless four.
“As a council we will be looking for an appropriate way of recognising his magnificent achievement.”
Following his victory Tom said “It’s great to be flying the Welsh flag on the world stage. My dad’s born and bred in Wrexham and is Welsh through and through and so am I.”
Wrexham Football Club spokesman Geraint Parry said: “When Tom’s got his feet back on the ground we would be delighted to invite him to one of our games.”
See page 48 for more Olympic coverage and race report.