SHE’S won one of the top accolades in her sport and been made a CBE by the Queen.
But Jessica Ennis now has the ‘biggest civic honour’ a Sheffield girl could wish for – Freedom of the City.
The Olympic heptathlon champion was guest of honour at a private party at Sheffield Town Hall where she signed a scroll granting her the ceremonial honour.
Jessica, who was welcomed home from the Olympics last August by a huge civic reception attended by thousands of people in the city centre, was hosted by Lord Mayor, Coun John Campbell.
The 27-year-old London 2012 gold medal winner said: “Winning the Olympics in Britain has exceeded everything I could have ever wished for, and the reception I have received from my home city has been unbelievable.
“Being Olympic champion is the best feeling ever and as an athlete the ultimate achievement.
“I have to say a big thank you to the people of Sheffield who have believed in me and backed me over the years.
“To become a Freeman of Sheffield is the biggest civic honour anyone can get and I’m so proud to receive it.”
Other people given the Freedom of Sheffield include fellow Olympic athlete and chairman of the 2012 Olympics organising committee Lord Coe, astronaut Helen Sharman, cricketer Michael Vaughan – and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Presenting the honour to former King Ecgbert’s School pupil Jess, Coun Campbell said: “Becoming a Freeman of Sheffield is the highest civic honour we can bestow and Jessica truly deserves it.
“Jessica is an amazing sportswoman, with incredible success and worldwide appeal. For this alone she is worthy of receiving the Freedom of the City, but let’s not forget the other things she does in Sheffield.
“She is also patron of two charities that mean so much to the people of Sheffield – Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Weston Park charities. Her support helps them raise so much for their causes.
“Jessica continues to inspire young people here in the city. Schoolchildren and athletics club members alike are awe-inspired when they see her training alongside them at the English Institute of Sport.
“Jessica truly is an inspiration to the people of Sheffield, showing what can be achieved by someone from this city if they work hard and have real determination.”