Pictures by Carl Hewlett

OLYMPIC champion Pete Reed inspired a generation as thousands of young people turned out to welcome him home on Saturday.

Rower Pete spent hours signing autographs, posing for photographs and passing his gold medals around for all to see.

He also visited schools in the area last week including Nailsworth Primary School, which he attended as a child.

John Hudson, chairman of Stroud District Council, which held a civic reception at the Sub Rooms, said: "It was heartening to see Pete spend so much time talking to the many school children who attended the reception.

"Pete went out of his way to make their day memorable. It was an inspiration for them and everyone else who turned out to watch the parade."

An open top bus carried Pete through Stroud and onto his hometown of Nailsworth as thousands lined the streets to cheer him on.

Claire Freeman, 16, of Dudbridge, said: "I wanted to show my support, it is an amazing achievement. I didn’t want to miss seeing a Team GB athlete, especially a local one."

Pete - whose team won gold in the men's coxless four - received a hero’s welcome in Nailsworth, where he met members of the community before making a half-time appearance at Forest Green Rovers ground.

Pete said: "What a wonderful summer it has been for Great Britain. I am so proud to be part of Team GB.

"I was only a fraction of that performance and it really is an honour to be part of this today."