It has been a busy few days for Northumberland Paralympic star Stephen Miller.
The 36-year-old, from Cramlington, joined hundreds of other Great Britain athletes in Manchester on Monday and London on Tuesday for parades to celebrate their achievements at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
And last Thursday, he went along to his local Sainsbury’s store in Manor Walks for a celebration breakfast.
He chatted with and answered questions from staff and customers and posed for pictures with them. Before he left, store manager Harry Brown presented him with a bottle of champagne.
The main organiser of the event, employee Jackie Green, made bunting and banners and fellow staff baked cakes and helped out on the day.
Stephen achieved a bronze in the F32 club throw in Rio after overcoming a back injury to take part.
This medal added to the three golds, one silver and one bronze he won at previous Paralympic Games.
Jackie said that she first saw him training with the discus on a field at what was then Cramlington Community High School about 15 years ago when she was taking her son to karate sessions.
She added: “Stephen shops here and when I heard that he had won a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics, I asked if we could do something to mark the achievement because he has inspired many disabled and able bodied people over the years.
“Harry came up with the idea to ask him to come along to the store and have a celebration event and I made the arrangements with Stephen’s wife.
“He brought along the bronze medal, which came in a beautiful wooden casket, and it was so heavy.
“After he had breakfast with his mam in the cafe, Stephen met customers and staff, answered our questions and posed for photographs.
“He is such a lovely guy and is very grounded and down to earth. He was fantastic with everyone he spoke to and Harry was delighted with how well the morning went.
“You could feel the buzz in the air and the event really touched the customers who came along. Some of them wrote about what it meant to meet Stephen on our comment cards.
“Hopefully, we will be able to work with him in the future.”
Sainsbury’s sponsored the Great Britain team at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Jackie has taken part in a range of sport or fitness related fund-raising activities for good causes.
The Cramlington store’s charity for last year was Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness, which supports children battling cancer, and it raised a total of £20,000.
This year’s charity is Autism Northumberland.
Big Medal Haul
Stephen, who was born with cerebral palsy, won Paralympic gold at Atlanta in 1996 in the F32 club throw category – becoming Great Britain’s youngest ever track and field champion at 16.
He repeated the feat at Sydney in 2000, where he also took bronze in the F32 discus throw, and Athens in 2004, followed by a silver in Beijing eight years ago.
His performance at the London 2012 Paralympics, where he was captain of the men’s athletics squad, was hampered by a hip injury and he has since had a hip replacement.
He won the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro with a season’s best of 31.93m.
Stephen has also won silver and bronze in IPC European Championships competitions.