STAR Beth Tweddle has thanked Chronicle readers for their support after finishing third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
World champion gymnast Beth, from Bunbury, earned 12.9% of the public vote on Sunday to finish behind pre-event favourite Darren Clarke and winner Zara Phillips.
The Chronicle has supported Beth all the way and, speaking after Sunday's glittering ceremony at Birmingham's NEC, the 21-year-old was keen to say a big 'thank you' to the people of South Cheshire.
She said: 'It was such an honour to be nominated. I never expected to come away with any trophies but to be voted third among all those great sports stars was amazing.
'I would like to thank the Chronicle and all its readers who supported me and voted for me - thank you!'
Beth made the 10-strong Sports Personality of the Year shortlist after winning gold medals on the uneven bars at this year's World and European gymnastics championships.
The millions who tuned into Sunday's awards show on BBC One saw Beth, who learned her trade with Crewe and Nantwich Gymnastics Club in Camm Street, display her customary poise in a demonstration of her medal-winning routine.
Her former gym teacher at the Camm Street centre, June Deeley, said: 'I thought she deserved first place. She's a lovely girl who puts in a phenomenal number of hours into what she does.
'When she first came here at the age of six, her talent was immediately evident.'
Next up for Beth is an appearance in the World Cup in Sao Paolo, Brazil, this weekend. She is set to go under the knife early next year to repair tendon damage in her shoulder but she hopes to be fully fit for the European Championships in April.
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council leader, Brian Silvester, paid tribute to the sporting star. He said: 'To finish in third place in the BBC awards is a remarkable achievement. I would like to offer my thanks to everyone living in the borough who supported Beth.'
Brian Dykes, Bunbury's borough councillor, said: 'Beth's achievements have put Crewe and Nantwich firmly on the map. Here's wishing her even more success in 2007.'