REAL life superhero Jamie McDonald, who ran 5,000 miles across Canada, has touched the lives of thousands of children on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Tredworth adventurer was welcomed by a delighted few of them at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital this afternoon, having touched down in his hometown after 11 months pounding through some of the toughest conditions imaginable.
The 27-year-old arrived at the Children’s Centre where he unveiled two plaques dedicated to him.
Jamie has raised more than £100,000 for charity during his run, which was the equivalent of more than 200 marathons.
Just 24 hours after his plane touched down at Heathrow, he visited children at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, followed by a special ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral this evening.
He said: “It all feels a bit surreal, I feel a bit on edge. Driving back to Gloucester was amazing, it is nice to see where the money will go at the hospital. It is phenomenal to be back. I was a little nervous about the ceremony at the Cathedral.”
During his visit he was also shown the new Day Surgery Unit for children, which is due to open on Monday.
Helen Clarke, from the Children’s Centre, said: “The beds will allow children who are having day surgery to be taken down to theatre in those beds and not move.”
Jamie was also shown the playroom and school room. He said: “As a child I was a nightmare. I did not leave St Peter’s High School with a lot of qualifications and got them later and I am glad to see I am making a difference to children’s teaching in hospitals. It has been a really touching experience.”
Wendy Fabian, from charity the Pied Piper Appeal whose work Jamie has been fundraising for, said staff would be sitting down with Jamie to discuss how the money can be used.
Ewoud Vorstman, paediatric consultant at the hospital, said: “I am not sure where he got his encouragement from. He has done something achievable to raise money for children in the area he has grown up in, it is fantastic.
“He has inspired a lot of people and I hope he doesn’t stop.”
Jamie’s mum Ann and dad Donald also went along to the visit.
Ann said: “It is amazing what he has done. We had a lot of stress but he has come through his adventure.”
This evening hundreds of fans, dressed as superheroes, joined Jamie at the King's Square.
From here Gloucester Mayor Chris Chatterton and Paul James, leader of the Gloucester City Council walked with Jamie to Gloucester Cathedral where he was presented with the Medallion of the City of Gloucester.
The special ceremony started with a blessing from The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester.
Mr Chatterton than gave a speech before presenting the medallion.
He said: “He started with cycling in a tent and then he did an astonishing 14,000 mikes to Bangkok. One of my jobs is to promote the city but there is no better ambassador than Jamie. He has promoted our city at every opportunity in Canada. He is a true inspiration.”
Jamie, who received three standing ovations from the crowd during the ceremony, said: “I spent the first nine years of my life in and out of hospital. If it wasn’t for people like the Pied Piper who support local people, I might not be here today.”
Jamie then went on to thank his supporters including his brother Lee and his parents.
As a child he suffered from a debilitating immune deficiency and potentially fatal spinal condition syringomyelia.
The crowds then joined Jamie at Gloucester Docks where he previously broke the Guinness World Record for the longest time spent cycling on a static bike for more than 11 days.
A plaque was unveiled by the Paul James, outside of North Warehouse.
To finish the evening off, they then headed down to Fosters on the Docks for drinks and entertainment.