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2012 heroes hailed at Palace event

October 23, 2012 23:36 pm

David Cameron hailed Great Britain's "incredible summer" of sport as the Queen hosted a glittering Buckingham Palace for Olympic and Paralympic heroes on Tuesday night.

Star sportsmen and women who won gold for the nation during the summer's extravaganza of sport were invited to the palace to mark their achievements. The Prime Minister joined the athletes and senior figures like Lord Coe who helped make the Games a success at the palace, where the Queen celebrated their efforts with the Duke of Edinburgh, Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family.

Mr Cameron said: "I think people will look back and just think, 'what an incredible summer' - success after success, medal after medal and the whole country putting on its very best face for the world. What matters now is that we maximise the momentum and the legacy following the Olympics and Paralympics."

He added: "We had a cabinet meeting about that and Seb Coe was there, and we were talking about the physical legacy of East London, the important economic benefits we want, there's the sporting legacy carried through to Rio and school sport, there's also the legacy in terms of attitude to disabilities, which I think is a real chance of a step change in our country."

Team GB began the summer's medal rush by winning 65 in total, including 29 golds, an achievement that was hailed as the athletes' "greatest ever" performance by Andy Hunt, their chef de mission for London 2012. The Paralympics saw Great Britain achieve unprecedented success with 120 medals, including 34 golds.

A number of household names like Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis were missing due to other commitments but one well-known face was available Zara Phillips, who won a team silver in the Olympic Equestrian competition.

Guests sipped champagne, wine and apple juice but towards the end of the evening many politely declined a drink as they have already begun training in earnest.

A line-up of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have all won three or more golds met the royal party, who included the Duke of York and daughter Princess Beatrice, the Princess Royal, President of the British Olympic Association, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The Duchess watched the Team GB women's hockey team win their bronze medal in a game against New Zealand and the royal stood amongst the group of 12 women and the party looked like old friends as they chatted away together.

Emily Maguire, from Glasgow, said afterwards: "The Duchess just said how much she enjoyed watching our games. She's lovely, she's just so easy to talk to and because she herself played hockey she has a real connection to the sport."

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