The Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie makes a triumphant return to his hometown

Ben Ainslie will swap sails for rails when he cruises into Lymington today on a victory bus tour after becoming the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

Ainslie, who won four Gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic games, has lived in Lymington for the last 15 years and is a member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

“The support I have received from the people of Lymington over the years has been nothing short of amazing,” said Ainslie.

“The open top bus in tour in Lymington will be a great way to show my appreciation and also gives me the chance to say hello to many friendly faces.”

Mayor of Lymington Councillor Jacqui England said the visit would give locals the opportunity to celebrate his achievements.

“We are all so proud of Ben and really pleased that he has managed to arrange this visit,” she said.

“He is an inspiration to the town and we will be recognising him formally when he has more time at his disposal. The Council has already discussed offering Ben the Freedom of Lymington and we hope he will accept”.

Such is the local ardour for Ainslie that a man was arrested for vandalism when he painted one of the town’s post-boxes gold after Royal Mail chose to honour Ainslie’s birthplace in Cornwall instead of his long-term residence.

Thousands of people are expected to fill the streets as the bus drives from Lymington Hospital Car Park in Ampress Park at 5.15pm, down Southampton Road, along Queen Street, St Thomas’s Street and High Street before dropping him off to attend a private function thrown in his honour.