Sailing legend Alex Thomson receives Freedom of Gosport

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SAILING legend Alex Thomson today received Gosport’s highest honour.

The 39-year-old Vendee Globe hero was bestowed with the Freedom of the Borough of Gosport in a ceremony at the town’s waterfront

Alex Thomson walks in procession from Gosport Town Hall

Alex Thomson walks in procession from Gosport Town Hall

Before being honoured, he had marched along the High Street joined by the mayor of Gosport, Cllr John Beavis, and the other councillors.

The procession was led by drummers from the HMS Sultan Volunteer Band.

Upon receiving his Freedom, Mr Thomson said: ‘It is a great honour to have received the award.

‘To have the council agree to give me the highest civilian award is a great honour and great privilege.’

Mr Thomson signed the declaration and was robed by Councillor Beavis with the official robes.

Cllr Beavis spoke of Gosport’s pride in the hometown boy who conquered the world on the high seas.

‘We are very proud of Alex and it was important to us that we give him the Freedom of the Borough award’ he said, before the yachtsman was led back through the town by the drummers to the town hall.

Alex’s boat Hugo Boss was moored in Portsmouth Harbour as a backdrop to the ceremony.

Councillors agreed to bestow the honour in July last year in recognition of his success in the Vendee Globe.

He won third place in race, in a time of 80 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes and 43 seconds.

In 1999 he was the youngest skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race in the Clipper Round the World Race.

And in 2003 and 2007 he broke the single-handed 24-hour monohull distance record.

Then in 2012 he sailed his way into the record books again, breaking the single-handed monohull transatlantic record by more than 24 hours.