Last call for knitted bunting – The first coveted yellow jersey is destined to be presented in Harrogate on the first stage of this year’s Tour de France on 5 July but thousands more will line the district’s streets as Le Tour de Bunting goes bonkers.
A call for knitters to unite and knit little jerseys to celebrate the Yorkshire Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France has far exceeded its original aim.
Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks Team thought they would set the needle high by asking for 3000 knitted jerseys to create bunting across the district to celebrate this historic occasion and linked to the famous Tour de France coloured jerseys.
They have been overwhelmed with nearly 8,000 pledged so far and are now making one last call as all jerseys are needed for 10 March.
Councillor Pat Jones, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sports, wants to thank everyone who has taken up their knitting needles to respond to the challenge. She added:
We have had bags, boxes and bundles of knitted jerseys delivered over the past few months – so far more than 3000 have arrived.
Pledges have come from as far afield as Austria, Bermuda, Canada, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland as well as all around our own country. Pledges have also come from the Isle of Man. The Manx Heritage Quilters and Knitting Group are personalising theirs with the Three Legs of Man, their national emblem. Not only is 5 July National Manx Day, but Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh raced in the Isle of Man RL360 youth cycling team. More than forty ladies from the group are coming to Harrogate for the Tour weekend and no doubt their cheers will be the loudest at the stage 1 finishing line in Harrogate.
Patrick Kilburn, the council’s Head of Parks and Open Spaces, also adds his thanks: This has been led by my team but the original idea was worked up with students from York University and the pattern was created for us by the owners of Baa Ram Ewe knitting business on Cold Bath Road in Harrogate. We wanted this to be something the community could get involved with to celebrate our hosting the Tour but the great knock on effect has been the boom in business for those selling knitting wool. We don’t mind whether people send us one jersey or a box full – the most we know one person has knitted is 89 so far.
We have a good mix of the green, white and yellow jerseys but we could do with a few more of the King of the Mountain red dotted jerseys.