As Yorkshire prepares to embrace French culture with the arrival of the Tour de France, two sets of Francophiles in Harrogate have joined forces to raise money for a local charity.
Lionel Strub, the chef and owner of French restaurant Mirabelle, has donated dozens of yellow jerseys to the Harrogate Montpellier Pétanque Club, which will sell them to raise money for Saint Michael’s Hospice.
Club chairman Nigel Clay said: Our annual tournament already raises hundreds of pounds for Saint Michael’s Hospice, but this year with all the celebrations around the Tour de France we wanted to do something extra.
We had been hoping to work with Lionel on something celebrating French culture and cuisine for some time, so when the idea for the yellow jerseys and fundraising days came up, we thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate the Tour de France and our links with French culture.
As well as selling the shirts to members, the club has two special events coming up when it hopes the public will come along to learn more about the sport – and bag their own yellow jersey for charity.
The day before the Grand Départ, on Friday, July 4, there will be an open day at the Pierhead Bouledrome – just metres from the Stage 1 finish line on West Park – where people can learn to play pétanque and compete against each other from 10am until late, in exchange for a donation to Saint Michael’s.
Then, on Sunday, July 13, there will be a Bastille Day picnic and pétanque event from 11am to 4pm, when people of all ages are again invited to find out more about the sport and play in informal matches.
The yellow jerseys will be on sale at both events for a minimum donation of £10, all of which will be given to Saint Michael’s Hospice.
Lionel Strub said: It is fantastic to see Harrogate embracing French culture ready for the Tour de France.
As well as raising money for charity, these shirts will be helping to build links between Harrogate and France. I am sending one to the pétanque club in my home town in Alsace, and they will send one of their shirts back for the Harrogate club.
Meanwhile, the annual Saint Michael’s Cup tournament, sponsored by Ellis Bates Group, has begun, with 16 teams competing for the chance to lift the trophy following the final in September.
For more information about the tournament, the club or any of the upcoming events, visit www.harrogatempc.org.