Paralympic gold medalist Matt Wylie should get a hero’s welcome on his return to Sunderland, says a city MP.
The 19-year-old is being celebrated across the city after picking up the gold in the 50m freestyle at the Paralympics in Rio.
Overjoyed Wearsiders are full of praise for the teenager who’s dedication has seen him rise to the top of his sport.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, is among those who has praised the swimmer.
She said: “Many congratulations to Matt for winning his gold medal, and I hope on his return to Washington he will get the hero’s welcome that he rightly deserves.”
Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman, said this is the latest in a string of achievements for Matt, who this year clinched the overall Sunderland Young Achievers’ Awards.
It is a phenomenal achievementPaul Cowen
He said: “He’s no stranger to winning. He has a string of British and European swimming awards, he’s the city’s Paralympian of the Year, Role Model of the Year, and he’s been studying for his A-levels.”
And, a special gold 100% electric Nissan LEAF will be rolling off the line at Nissan’s Sunderland plant to present to the triumphant athlete.
Matt already drives to training in a white Nissan Leaf which was supplied by Wessington Way Nissan dealership Evans Halshaw.
Matt’s dad Mike, who works as an IT Manager at the Nissan factory, said: “The race was so close, it must have been incredibly exciting for everyone watching back home but my nerves are completely shredded.
“Looking back to the early days with Matt, I never thought I would see anything like this happen, so it’s incredible to be out here in Brazil to see him win gold.
“I’m really proud that a company like ours is supporting events like the Olympic and Paralympic Games and helping athletes like Matt.
“My colleagues have been really supportive all the way. They’re really happy for Matt and are always following his career.”
At Matt’s old school, Biddick Academy, the staff and students are bursting with pride.
Paul Cowen, headteacher at the Washington school, said: “It is a phenomenal achievement, we are all thrilled.
“He was always so dedicated and committed, giving his all to everything he did. We are just so proud of him.
“Matt is such an inspiration and we are hopefully looking forward to welcoming him back into the school to inspire the students.”