A Paralympic gold medal has rocketed schoolgirl Ellie Robinson to national hero status and nowhere is she more loved than in her home town.
Ecstatic messages of congratulations from Northampton have swamped social media with Northamptonians not shy of letting the 15-year-old butterfly champ know how proud she has made the entire town.
Her school, Northampton High School, where joyous fellow pupils gathered to watch the action on TV last night, tweeted: “Wow Ellie Robinson Paralympic champion. So proud. Amazing achievement.”
Dozens of sports stars lined up to praise Ellie, including Northampton and England rugby captain Dylan Hartley. He said: “Absolutely outstanding @EllieRobinsonGB !! Doing Northampton and GB proud.”
Sally Gedney, headteacher of Parklands Primary School, was one a number of teachers and schools across the county who were eager to let the teenager know the effect she is having on local youngsters.
She said: “You inspired us all at Parklands, now you have inspired the world!”
Sporting organisations that have helped Ellie to elite level showed their delight. Northants Sport tweeted: “You have done Northampton proud! So pleased and so happy for you. Congratulations! ”
And ordinary Northamptonians in their hundreds sent messages to their new heroine. Stephen Thomas said: “There’s no better ambassador for Northampton right now than Ellie Robinson.”
Ellie, who only turned 15 last month, stormed to victory in Rio on Friday night in the S6 50m butterfly, setting a new games Paralympic Games record in the process.
The Northampton Swimming Club member struck gold for Team GB as she raced home in 35.58 seconds.
“I keep looking around to check that I actually won, it’s so weird. I gave it everything and max-ed it,” said Ellie.
‘I put everything I have done in training into that race. It’s going to be weird to go back to school as a Paralympic champion”
Robinson also came first in her heats, and was cheered all the way by her school-mates back in Northampton.
Class-mates from Northampton High School posted video clips of them watching Robinson on a big screen, and the swimmer added: “Thanks to everyone who has been watching me at school, it’s so sweet.”
The teenager was also trending on Twitter last night accompanied by the phrase ‘straight outta Northampton’ - a play on rap song ‘Straight Outta Compton’ - following her hip hop-style reaction to crowds cheering at poolside, which made her an instant internet star.
The win tops off a brilliant 2016 for Robinson, who also claimed four medals - three bronze and one silver - at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Funchal, her first competition for Teamn GB.
There, she took bronze in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle events, and silver in the 50m butterfly.
She was talent spotted with the Tokyo 2020 games in mind but her quick progression means she was selected for the Rio games and will also compete in the S6 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle.
The entire town will be willing her on for more gold.