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Hero's welcome for round-the-world sailor

Gosport is to honour sailor Alex Thomson with an official welcome-home ceremony, following his achievements in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race. 

Gosport Borough Council is due to greet the yachtsman on Saturday (11 Feb) with a civic reception, including a brass band and councillors in formal robes. 

He finished the race in second place last month after almost 75 days at sea, becoming the fastest Britain to sail around the globe in a monohull. On the way he smashed the 24-hour distance record in a 60ft monohull. 

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said: "Alex's achievement was astounding – it will inspire so many people. Gosport is very proud of him, and we wanted to make sure he had a real hero's welcome from the borough." 

The yachtsman was presented with the honorary freedom of the borough in a ceremony in 2014. 

Saturday's event is due to proceed as follows: 

  • 10.15am–11am: Parade of sail from Spitbank forts and around Portsmouth Harbour. 
  • 10.45am: Mayor and councillors arrive on Gosport Ferry pontoon in Gosport. 
  • 11am: Alex's boat, Hugo Boss, arrives alongside the pontoon. Councillors and sea cadets will form a guard of honour. 
  • 11.20am (approx): Speeches from the Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Lynn Hook, and Alex in Falklands Gardens.  
  • 11.45am (approx): Alex meets fans in Falklands Gardens.
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